How to make a valid DIY will

26 March 2021

Making a will is all about family

Why you need to make a will

There are many reasons why someone should make a will and very few reasons not to. We have included below the most common reasons:

  • Ensure that your loved ones are financially provided for.
  • Ensure that your money goes where you think it should.
  • Make special gifts.
  • Reduce the chances of dispute.
  • Protect your partner and their children if you are unmarried.
  • Decide who will look after your children.
  • Protect the future ownership of the family home
  • Prevent paying more Inheritance Tax than you need to
  • Understand that a will can be varied at any time by either a codicil or fresh will
  • Protect your pets if they would be left alone.
  • Be conscious of the fact that the unexpected happens!
  • Leave money to a charity.

Mother happy in the knowledge baby and siblings are in a Will

What are my options for making a will?

There are a variety of ways you can create a will, ranging from pre-printed forms you could purchase from retailers to high street solicitors. However, each has its pros and cons and only you can decide which is right for your circumstances. The charges may be fixed or flexible with some higher quality than others. Clearly, solicitors will generally be the most expensive but with Everyday Legal you get the best of both worlds – a solicitor written template at online prices.

What is an executor and how do I choose one?

The person dealing with the estate of the person who has died is called an executor or an administrator. An executor is someone who is named in the will as responsible for dealing with the probate of the estate. You may appoint someone you trust e.g. a close friend, relative or colleague. You could also appoint a professional person e.g. the solicitor who drafted the will but beware of expected fees that will then be charged against the estate on death.

What should I include in my will?

When preparing to write your will you should ensure you have in mind an approximate value of your estate. This will help you to gauge any range and value of legacies, gifts or tax. This includes everything from your bank accounts, jewellery and shares to any property that you own.

You should also consider:

  • Who are your beneficiaries? Your will should clearly state who gets what from your estate in the most specific terms possible.
  • Who is your executor? You must decide who will be in charge of going through the probate process ensuring that your estate is distributed correctly, according to your wishes.
  • Do you have minor children – if so, you will need to set up a trust within the will itself for them to receive the benefits at a certain age.
  • Do you need to appoint a guardian? Any dependents, such as children, will need caring for in the event of your death.
  • Do you have any cryptocurrency? If so, you will need special provisions where codes and passwords can be found.
  • Do you want a traditional funeral, humanist ceremony and/or cremation?

Can a beneficiary be an executor of my will?

Yes. a beneficiary can also be an executor of your will and often this is the case. It is quite common to appoint family members to perform this role.

Whilst beneficiaries can be executors (or trustees) they cannot witness the will, as if they do, they stand to lose any entitlement.

Do I need witnesses for my will?

Yes – a minimum of 2. The person making the will must sign or acknowledge his or her signature in front of the witnesses who should be independent and adult. They should sign and date where indicated in the will.

Covid-19 saw provisions made which permit the use of “video witnessing”. For more information on this, please read our article: How to witness your Will by video link.

Is a DIY will legal and legitimate?

If the formalities have been complied with a DIY will is valid. This means that your will must comply with the following requirements.

  • The will maker (testator) must be 18 or over and of sound mind.
  • It must be made voluntarily.
  • It must be in writing and in ink form (not pencil as this can be erased)
  • It must be witnessed properly by being signed or acknowledged in the physical or video (for the time being) presence of 2 independent adult witnesses.

How much does a DIY will cost?

It is not uncommon for solicitors to charge £500 or more for a will. However, Everyday Legal offers extremely good value at just £35* (plus VAT).

Where should I store my will?

The will should be stored safely and should be readily available when required. Solicitors will offer free storage for you with the anticipation of being instructed on the probate.

Benefits of our online DIY will template

Our template is easy to complete and is very flexible as to your requirements. It is written by a solicitor and quick to download with no appointment needed and at a super low cost.

John Davies
24th March 2021

Saving you time and money

We hope you enjoy our short informative blogs. We are all about empowering the individual to take better ownership and control of the legal aspects of their personal and business life. We have a plethora of legal document templates that are quick and easy to explore and create. What's more, creation and editing is free. Explore our templates here 

*Self service template cost was correct at time of blog publication. This may change in the future.