Thomas Preston
Posted by
Thomas Preston

How do I make a Will?

Thomas Preston
Posted by
Thomas Preston
07 Jun 2011

Having decided that I want to leave a legacy, how do I go about doing this?

Work out what assets you have
Choose who to leave it to and how
Contact a solicitor
Appoint your executors
Complete your Will and keep it safe
Support in making your Will

Work out what assets you have

Before actually going ahead and having a Will written, it is worth drawing up a list of your assets (and your debts).

This should give you a clearer idea of what your final Estate will look like. 

It will save your solicitor’s time (as well as your money!) and it will also give you an indication as to whether your Estate could be subject to Inheritance Tax. The threshold for this is currently any estate that is valued in excess of £325,000.

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Choose who to leave it to and how

Choose who you want to include in your Will and work out what you’d like each to receive. To cover this, the most common options are:

  • Residuary legacy

A gift of the residue (or a share of the residue) of the estate. Residue is whatever is left after all debts, funeral expenses, certain other costs and tax and any other legacies have been deducted.

  • Pecuniary legacy

A gift of a fixed sum of money. The value of a pecuniary gift will decrease over time, as the cost of living increases.

  • Specific legacy

A gift of a particular named item ‐ for example, a piece of jewellery, furniture, a painting, buildings, land, house contents, chattels, shares etc.

  • Life interest / Reversionary legacy

A right to enjoy property, or the proceeds of investment of property, until death or in the case of some reversionary legacies, some other asset. The beneficiary of a life interest is known as the ‘life tenant’. The interest will cease on death of the life tenant.

It’s worth bearing in mind that, because of inflation, cash sums (pecuniary legacies) will be worth far less in the future than they are today, whereas a share of the estate (residuary legacy) will always be worth that percentage of the total value of the estate.

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Contact a solicitor

We strongly recommend that you take professional advice and see a solicitor when drawing up and executing a Will. This will greatly reduce the possibility that your Will is subsequently challenged and help ensure that your wishes are accurately followed.

If you do not already have a solicitor, you can use the Law Society’s website or contact the Citizens Advice Bureau to find a local firm.

You then need to decide who will benefit from your Will. This could be expected to include

  • Family
  • Friends and 
  • Charity (don’t forget to make a note of the charity's number and include this in any Will)

The example wording below can be used as an indication, but we would always advise using a qualified solicitor to check that your Will is valid and unambiguous. 

"I give to LEUKAEMIA & LYMPHOMA RESEARCH, of 39-40 Eagle Street, London, WC1R 4TH, Registered Charity Number 216032 (England & Wales) SC037529 (Scotland), [______% of my estate] or [the sum of £___________ ], to be used for general charitable purposes absolutely and I declare that the receipt of the Treasurer or duly authorised officer shall be a full and sufficient discharge."

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Appoint your Executors

Executors are named in your Will and are responsible for carrying out the wishes expressed in your Will on your behalf. You can appoint from one to four executors, however two is the most common number.

Once your Will has been drafted, do read it through thoroughly and ensure that it sets out your wishes exactly – and get your solicitor to talk through it with you to ensure that everything is in order.

You can, of course, make any changes you want during your lifetime, but it is virtually impossible for your family to do so after you’ve gone.

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Complete and sign your Will and ensure that it is kept safe

This would generally be with your solicitor or, alternatively, your bank

You should also ensure that others know where to find your Will, so keep a copy at home with a note as to where the original is stored.

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Support in making your Will

England and Wales

We’ve teamed up with The Goodwill Partnership so that making your Will is simple and convenient.

The Goodwill Partnership are able to offer a trusted Will writing service, with an appointment in your own home at a time that suits you – daytime, evenings or weekends. They offer the lowest price for a face-to-face Will writing service in England and Wales. You don’t have to leave a gift to Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research in your Will, but if you choose to, together we’ll support ground-breaking research which changes patients’ lives.

For more information, visit our dedicated page on their website or call 01482 816 947 to speak to them.

Scotland

If you live in Scotland, we have a similar partnership with McClure Solicitors. The firm will provide Will writing services to our supporters in 2015 for a small donation – this donation is made at the point of Will writing and is not via a gift in your Will. There’s no obligation to include a gift to us in your Will, but if you choose to then together we’ll support ground-breaking research which changes patients’ lives.

You can make use of this service if you'd like your first Will written or if you need changes made to your current Will.

To arrange an appointment or for more information call the McClure Solicitors office in Edinburgh on 0800 852 1999 or visit the McClure website to get in touch by email, quoting 'Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research'.

Other services

If you would like to use another solicitor to write or amend your Will, you can use the Law Society’s website or contact the Citizens Advice Bureau to find a local firm.

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If you are including a charity in your Will, we recommend that you let any family members know of your intention, to ensure that this isn’t a surprise to them.