There are some things you need to consider before making your will, but it can be a quick and easy process.
You should consider making a will regardless of whether or not you think you have many possessions or much money. The reasons for this are:
For more information on what happens when someone dies without leaving a will, see the Citizen’s Advice Bureau’s guide.
If your will is going to be straightforward and uncomplicated you will not need a solicitor and can do it yourself. If it could be complicated you may need to consider using a solicitor.
In any event it could be to your advantage to have a solicitor look over the will once it is drawn up in case of errors - these could cause huge problems and legal costs after your death.
You should definitely consider using a solicitor in the following instances:
For more advice on writing a will please see the Citizens Advice Bureau's guide on Wills.
For your will to be valid, it must meet certain criteria.
A valid will must:
If you are blind, or cannot read or write English, you can still make a valid will. It must be clear that you have understood and approved the contents of the will. For example, there should be evidence that the will was read to you so that you have fully understood its contents.
As soon as the will is signed and witnessed, it is complete.
In order to save time and reduce costs of going to a solicitor, you should give some thought to the major points you want included in your will.
Some things to consider when planning a will:
Once you have written your will, keep it in a safe place. Don’t attach any other documents to the will.
If a will specifies the gender of a beneficiary, for example, ‘my eldest daughter’, and that beneficiary subsequently undergoes genital realignment and gains legal recognition in their new gender, they may no longer be entitled to inherit.
However, someone whose entitlement under a will might be adversely affected by gender change may be able to apply to the High Court to have the will interpreted in the light of the Gender Recognition Act 2004. The same applies to other people whose entitlement under the will might be affected by the gender change.
You’ll find up-to-date information on wills, probate and inheritance on the gov.uk website.
If you’re unsure about what to do, you can contact THT Direct and one of our advisors should be able to direct you to the right organisation.
If you are registered with myHIV you can also talk to one of our Online Advisers.
The Health Wealth and Happiness Project supports the financial, emotional and physical wellbeing of over 50s living with HIV in Brighton, Bristol, London, Manchester and the West Midlands.
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This article was last reviewed on
by Anna Peters
Date due for the next review: 23/3/2018
Content Author: Gillian Arrindell
Current Owner: Advice & Advocacy
Citizen's Advice Bureau - Wills.
Making a will, December 2014, gov.uk
Inheritance Tax, March 2015, gov.uk
Gender Recognition Act 2004, gov.uk
Who can inherit if there is no will – the rules of intestacy, Citizen's Advice Bureau
Wills, probate and inheritance, March 2015, gov.uk
Ken talks about growing older with HIV.
CAB - Citizens Advice Bureau
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