Where there's a will

Ten reasons you MUST have one

1. No-one wants to think about their death. But you need to do just that if you want to spare your family and friends a collective headache when you pop your clogs.

2. If you don’t write a will then you'll die intestate. That means your assets – home, savings, possessions – will be given to whoever qualifies under the complicated rules of intestacy. See here for more information or go to www.scottish.parliament.uk if you’re north of the border.

3. If you die intestate, you could end up passing money to a hated relative just because you couldn’t be bothered to spend a small amount of money and time on writing a will.

4. It’s vital to have a will if you have children, property, savings, investments or own your own business. And if you aren’t married, writing a will is the only way to make sure your partner inherits from you. So that’s nearly everyone, then…

5. If you have a will, your family will be able to sort your estate out according to your wishes and it will be resolved faster than if you died intestate. You’ll also be able to leave money to friends, charities and anyone you like. And you can leave instructions on what kind of funeral you would like.

6. A will can help cut inheritance tax. You can also leave instructions on who you’d like to take care of your children if you die when they are still young.

7. To be valid, your will must be witnessed and signed by two adults who aren’t going to inherit anything from you. You’ll need to appoint executors to carry out your wishes too. They can be friends or relatives, or a professional such as a solicitor or accountant.

8. Using a solicitor to write your will could cost around £100-£150 if it’s fairly simple. If you and your spouse’s wills are the same (mirror wills) you could save money. Will-writing services are cheaper, or you could use a template from a stationery shop.

9. DON’T use a template will if your affairs are in any way complex such as having second families, business ownership etc.

10. DO make sure you keep your will updated. An out-of-date will can be worse than not having one at all. Look at it every few years to make sure it still reflects your wishes. You can update it with codicils. See here for help.


More stuff:

  • Look here for an in-depth guide to wills.
  • Citizens Advice has tips here for saving on the cost of wills.
  • Click here to see our top ten ways to save tax.


Last updated 7 August 2017.