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Wills | 17th August 2016

How To Write Your Own Will

Have you ever thought to yourself: how do I write a will? This Damsons guide tells you what you need to know about writing your own will.

Whilst there are many different will writing services out there, not all of them are necessarily affordable. In an attempt to save a bit of money, some people choose to write their own will – which is often free. The cost of dying isn’t cheap, and writing your own will is one way to cut back on expenses.

If you’re considering writing your own will, then there a few things you need to be aware of before you begin. Writing a will isn’t like penning an ordinary letter – there are rules and regulations to follow. If you omit certain pieces of information or fail to compile your will in the correct format, the document may be considered invalid, which means your money, property and possessions could end up in the hands of people you never wanted them to.

This guide offers you essential will writing advice that can help your posthumous wishes come true.

List Your Assets & Debts

Before you even sit down to write your will, there’s a different kind of document you ought to draw up first: a list of your assets and debts. This will help you determine what your estate is worth and allow you to write your will accurately.

Assets in your list should include:

  • Property (your residence, office, holiday home etc)
  • Finances (your bank account savings, national savings like premium bonds
  • Policies (life insurance, endowment policies)
  • Funds (pensions)
  • Investments (stocks, shares, investment trusts)
  • Vehicles (cars, motorbikes, motorhomes)
  • Valuable Possessions (jewellery, art, furniture, memorabilia)

It’s essential to review the value of your assets on a regular basis. It may require a small chunk of your time, but it’s important to have the most accurate results for the value of your assets. Failure to do so may result in a miscalculation of how much your items and possessions are worth and put you at risk of incurring a financial loss. One of the estate planning and financial advisors here at Damsons will be more than happy to assist you in calculating the value of your estate.

After determining what your entire estate is worth, you should then calculate the total amount of what you owe (your debts).

Debts in your list should include:

  • Mortgage
  • Credit Cards
  • Overdrafts
  • Loans
  • Equity Release

All debts need to be calculated accurately and weighed up against your assets in order to determine the overall value of your estate. If you’re a little confused at how to do this, Damsons can help.

Should you be writing your own will?

Writing your own will may be a great way to save money, but just because it’s the cheaper alternative doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the best option. Before you start writing your own will, you must consider whether you’re in an appropriate position to do so.

A few types of people who can benefit from writing their own will include:

  • Individuals with very simple wishes and a limited number of assets and/or debts
  • Individuals who want to leave everything they own to one particular person, such as their spouse
  • Individuals who want to leave everything to their children

When your wishes are simple, writing your own will is often a good idea. However, it’s not such a smart choice when the situation is more complex.

The types of people who should avoid writing their own will include:

  • Individuals with step-children
  • Individuals with multiple marriages
  • Individuals who are unmarried but wish to leave possessions to their partner
  • Individuals with complex assets and finances (foreign investments/accounts/property)
  • Individuals who provide income for people other than their immediate family

If you try to compile your own will when you have a lot of complex wishes, you risk constructing it incorrectly and rendering the document legally redundant.

If you are not in the best position to write your own will, don’t risk it just for the sake of saving some money. There are other ways to cut back on the cost of dying, and using a professional service to assist you with your will doesn’t have to be expensive. Chat to the Damsons team today and see how you can get your will written by a professional for an affordable price.

Helping you create your will

The Damsons Will Creator allows you to build your own will from scratch, completely free of charge. We take you through ten simple steps, enabling you to assemble a valid, legally obliging will document that will hold up in court.

Some of the things you’ll need to include in your will are:

Type

With Damsons, you can opt for a single will or a mirror will. Single wills are designed for one person, whereas mirror wills are designed for couples. Simply put, mirror wills are two separate wills which “mirror” one another in terms of their content, meaning both are essentially the same.

Guardians

Primary (first choice) and Substitute (second choice).

Executors

You can appoint Damsons as the executor of your estate or select an executor of your choice.

Funeral Plans

If you have a pre-paid funeral plan in place you’ll need to mention it here.

For further support writing your own will, contact Damsons today. Our will specialists will be able to assist you with any questions you may have.

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