Home > Making a Will > Ensuring Your Will is Watertight: A Checklist

Ensuring Your Will is Watertight: A Checklist

By: J.A.J Aaronson - Updated: 23 Sep 2012 | comments*Discuss
 
Writing Will Compliance Checklist

Your will is one of the most important documents you will ever make. It can have significant implications for the distribution of your assets after your death, and the tax treatment of your estate. There are endless cases in which the affairs of a deceased individual have been dealt with in an unsatisfactory manner, simply because the individual in question failed to make a will.

Occasionally, however, simply making a will is not enough. It is not unheard of for a will to be challenged, especially when the estate is of a high value or family circumstances lead to a conflict between beneficiaries. As such, it is vitally important that your will stands up to legal scrutiny. This checklist will help to ensure that your will is watertight.

1. Hire a solicitor

Many people choose to make their will themselves. This is frequently a perfectly reasonable course of action; many wills are simple enough, consisting solely of simple instructions to executors. However, in more complex cases it will be necessary to seek proper legal advice. This is particularly true if you are establishing a trust, or if your personal affairs are particularly complex. It is worth remembering, however, that some less scrupulous solicitors will name themselves as executors, and charge a fee for this service. While this may be beneficial in some circumstances, you should make sure that your chosen executor is properly named, whoever that may be.

2. Check your executors

You should always check with your chosen executors before naming them in your will. Executors may be obliged to shoulder a significant burden, and you should clarify the nature of their role with them before completing the document. Furthermore, if you outlive your executors it is vital that you amend your will accordingly. Further information on these changes can be found in articles elsewhere on this site.

3. Seek advice on trusts

Trusts are a very useful legal device, particularly for those who wish to shield their assets from the dreaded inheritance tax. However, it is important that the document is properly constructed in order that the trusts are valid. You should make sure that you have permission from your chosen trustees before naming them in your will or any other document establishing a trust.

4.Check the law

While seemingly unlikely, it is possible for the instructions in your will to contravene other elements of the law. This is a particular risk when you give instructions regarding the welfare of any children after your death. Stipulations of a will are not valid if they contravene other laws, and you should therefore ensure that the document is fully compliant with current legislation. Again, you may wish to seek advice from a solicitor if you are in doubt.

5. Keep it safe

There is no point in making a will if no-one knows where it is. Make sure that you keep copies safe; many people choose to lodge it with their solicitor. Furthermore, you should ensure that all relevant parties (particularly the executors) are aware of its existence and know where to find it.

Writing a will should not be too strenuous a task unless your affairs are unusually complex. Giving consideration to these simple tips should help ensure that your will is effective, and that your dependants receive the benefits you have intended.

You might also like...
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice..
Why not be the first to leave a comment for discussion, ask for advice or share your story...

If you'd like to ask a question one of our experts (workload permitting) or a helpful reader hopefully can help you... We also love comments and interesting stories

Title:
(never shown)
Firstname:
(never shown)
Surname:
(never shown)
Email:
(never shown)
Nickname:
(shown)
Comment:
Validate:
Enter word:
Topics
Latest Comments
  • Lisa
    Re: How Legally Binding is a Will?
    My gran had will and she had sign by 2 witnesses and my grandad was there my gran and grandad now sadly passed and a can't find…
    18 September 2020
  • Ionnikins
    Re: Keeping Your Will Up-to-Date
    My wife and I have mirror wills. We have agreed that on first death the survivor will vary the will in order to pass on to our…
    29 August 2020
  • MARYM
    Re: Preparing Your Will in Scotland
    My father changed his will 4 months before he passed away aged 82, he was unable to sign his will, he only mentioned 2…
    12 May 2020
  • scot20
    Re: Scottish Rights of Succession
    In a simple will, no property on a little savings, is it necessary to have a whole section on trusts as in STEP? Everything going…
    20 April 2020
  • suspicious
    Re: Preparing Your Will in Scotland
    Scotland - The main beneficiary of a will made by my uncle ( suffering from dementia) arranged for a completely new Will to be…
    8 April 2020
  • Someone
    Re: Dealing With Intestacy
    Hi, I am trying to get prepared for when my time comes when my mother passes on. There is a will and I am the sole person who will…
    2 December 2019
  • Tina
    Re: Preparing Your Will in Scotland
    My husband signed will at the later date than will itself is dated. On the last page is only his signature,no printed name and…
    23 November 2019
  • Robin
    Re: Are Verbal Changes to a Will Valid?
    My Mom passed away she had a will made in 2012 though since has wanted to make changes she told me and my sistee (whom is…
    27 July 2019
  • Ray Delta
    Re: Debt After Death
    My partner passed away in February 2019 leaving no estate assets or monies, she had a vehicle on a lease hire agreement with an £8,800. now owing.…
    7 July 2019
  • Geoff
    Re: Divorce and Revoking a Will
    Three years ago when my wife, now deceased, was in a nursing home I had a will written that left everything to my wife's great…
    4 July 2019