How to write a will
Finance

Can I write my own will? The complete guide

5 min read

It's never too early to ask “can I write my own will?” and start making plans for the future.

Writing a will means you can leave money and possessions to people you love, so they can feel supported after you’re gone.

Even if this isn’t on your mind, considering a will can provide your friends and family with security.

This article will answer your question ‘can I write my own will” and give you everything you need to know.

*Disclosure: You should not use this article to make financial decisions. We recommend you seek professional advice from someone who is authorised to provide financial advice.

Here’s a summary of what we’ll cover:

  • No one wants to be faced with anxiety about how your loved ones will cope, so making a will is so important.
  • You can decide where your possessions and finances go and who will be granted permission to access your will.
  • You can write your own will but must be aware of rules and customs to make your will as clear as possible.
  • Or hire a solicitor, which can be pricey, but means that everything will be taken care of for you.
Last will and testament

Can I write my own will?

To be frank, yes, you can absolutely write your own will. 

While it is a legal document, you don’t need a solicitor to write it or witness it. 

That being said, it’s important to understand the process so that you avoid making mistakes that could invalidate your wishes.

Many people do hire a solicitor to oversee their will, but if you’re happy to do it alone, there’s nothing stopping you.

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Why should I write my own will?

Writing your own will means that you will be solely responsible for managing the writing process and making it legally valid.  

It is considerably cheaper than using a professional service but may be difficult to oversee in the long term.

But if you follow the correct procedure, you can get the job done without having to hire a solicitor. 

This is the best option for you if your will is straightforward and has simple requests, like leaving everything to your partner.

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Understanding the importance of your will

A will is not the same as lasting power of attorney – it governs what happens to your estate after your death. 

If you make any mistakes, this could become an emotional and financial burden for your beneficiaries who have to figure it out.

If you haven’t used a solicitor, your beneficiaries will have to take responsibility for executing the will, which can be difficult.

Plus, unclear instructions or bad wording can lead to an invalid will, which means your wishes may not be followed.

What will a solicitor do?

A solicitor will essentially charge a fee for writing your will on your behalf, and manage any legal disputes after death. 

They will iron out any existing mistakes that may be present in your will and will advise your executors on getting probate.

Having a certified will and probate solicitor will make the process easier, as they handle the administration for you. 

It’s recommended to get your will checked by a solicitor even if you do decide to write your own. 

When should I choose a solicitor?

Although you may want to write your own will, this may not be the quickest or easiest course of action.

Choosing a solicitor is a hassle-free option where the written work is done for you. 

Going to a certified Will and Probate Solicitor is essential, as they will have the knowledge and expertise to guide you.

It’s best not to write your own will if you have specific requests or if you have more complicated circumstances.

How can I write my own will?

If you are confident that you can write your own will, then you will need to use a Last Will and Testament template. 

You can find a template online, however, make sure that it’s up to date and from a trusted provider. 

The will can be written by hand, online, or some prefer to hire a writing service which could cost less than a solicitor. 

Some of the benefits include easy editing and online and phone advice lines to walk you through the process.

Writing your will

How to write my own will

Start by drafting a list of all your assets and debts, like your home and bank accounts. 

You can then divide your overall estate value between your beneficiaries, and name your executors.

Signing and witnessing will legally bind your will, and storing it in a safe place will ensure it’s secure. 

Checking your will for mistakes and following procedure

If you feel more comfortable writing your own will, then you must ensure that it is free from errors and confusion. 

Check all names and spelling and grammar, and if handwriting, make sure the will is legible and easy to follow.

Be specific and use full names so the probate registry has all the information it needs.

Witnesses

Ensure your will is signed and witnessed in person by two independent adult witnesses.

This means no family or spouses of family, they must be people who do not have any claim to the will.

If you do not follow the proper procedure for having your will witnessed, it will be invalidated. 

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Can I change my will?

Yes, you should be able to make changes to your will, and there are two main ways in which you can do this. 

The first is using a short document called a Codicil however you’ll need a professional service to legally bind it. 

The second way is to create an entirely new will, but ensure that you destroy the will you no longer wish to use. 

It is best to write a new will if you have lots of changes, but for small adjustments, a codicil document should work fine.

What can a codicil document provide?

If you only wish to make minor amendments, a codicil document can save you from writing a whole new will. 

They can typically cost between £20 and £80, but this depends on which professional service you decide on.

With this, you can add or remove any beneficiaries, and change funeral arrangements.

Plus, your marital status may change, which could mean you want to amend beneficiaries or amounts.

Making the decision to write your own will

The decision of writing your own will or hiring a solicitor is down to your personal choice.

If you prefer not to use a solicitor, it’s important to create a step-by-step plan to stay organised.

On the other hand, using a solicitor means you will be paying for a service but it can give you more security. 

So, there is no right or wrong answer, and it depends on what suits your needs and makes you feel more comfortable.

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