Your Guide to Making
a Will | 2023

Your Guide to Making
a Will | 2023

Your Guide to Making
a Will | 2023

Will
FAQs

AT A GLANCE

What is a Will?

Updating Your Will

What is
a Will?

A Will is a legal document detailing your wishes regarding your assets, belongings and dependants after your death. A Will is often drawn up at the same time as making an LPA in order to protect yourself in life and in death.

Your Will is a binding legal document, signed by two witnesses, that outlines how you would like your ‘Estate’ or ‘belongings’ to be distributed upon your death. The people that you choose to ‘bequeath’ or ‘give’ assets to are called beneficiaries. A beneficiary can be anyone from a spouse or immediate family member, to a friend or even a charity. Your Will can only be used upon your death but can be revoked, updated or changed any time before your death.

If you die without a Will, your estate will be dealt with by the laws of ‘intestacy’. This means that no one, yourself included, has any say over how your assets are distributed on your death. The law will decide how your assets are divided upon your death. This follows a strict hierarchy outlined later in this guide. Having a Will in place is essential to provide you with peace of mind and ensure that your estate goes to the people chosen by you.

When to Update
a Will

The Lyons Bowe rule of thumb is that there are typically 5 times in your life that you will need to update your Will:

1. Property Changes

Buying or selling a property is an immediate trigger to review and update your Will. Any change to the status of your property ownership is a

2. Family Changes

It’s important to note that a common law marriage doesn’t exist so if you live with a partner but are not married or in a civil partnership, they may not have any legal right to any of your estate.

Making or updating a Will is vitally important for blended families. You can use our intestacy checker to find out who will inherit your estate if you die without a Will in place.

When there is a change to your family, such as getting married or having a child, it’s important to update your Will to reflect your new circumstances. You may want to add your spouse or child as a beneficiary, for example, or change the way your assets are distributed to ensure that your family is properly provided for.

It’s important to consider that when you get married, your existing Will will automatically be revoked, unless you have a specific clause in the Will in consideration of marriage.

3. Financial Changes

If you experience any significant financial changes such as inheriting from a relative. If you experience any significant financial changes, such as inheriting money or property from a relative, it’s important to review your will to ensure that it reflects your new circumstances. You may want to update your beneficiaries or change the way your assets are distributed to reflect your new financial situation.

4. The Death of Someone Named in the Will

If someone in your will dies such as a beneficiary or executor If someone named in your will, such as a beneficiary or executor, passes away before you do, it’s important to update your will to reflect this change. You may want to name a new beneficiary or executor, or change the way your assets are distributed to reflect the loss of the original beneficiary or executor.

5. Every 5 years

Even if none of the above situations apply to you, the UK Government recommend reviewing your will every 5 years to ensure that it still reflects your wishes. Significant changes can happen in your life without even noticing them happen. As you go through life, your circumstances and priorities may change, and your Will should reflect these changes.

In summary, there are many important moments throughout your life when you should consider making or updating your will. By keeping your will up to date, you can ensure that your wishes are carried out after you’re gone and that your loved ones are provided for. If you have any questions about making or updating your will, don’t hesitate to contact us at info@lyonsbowe.co.uk. We’re here to help.

Your Will
Checklist

AT A GLANCE

Assets & Debts

Beneficiaries

Executors

Donations

Inheritance Tax

Assets &
Debts

Before making your Will, you will need to have a clear picture of your assets and debts.

ASSETS

An asset is anything that you own, even if you don’t own it outright. For example a property that you own with a mortgage, or a car that you own on a Hire Purchase agreement.

DEBTS

Debts include any money that you owe such as a mortgage, credit cards, or an overdraft. In a very simplified calculation, your estate will be valued by subtracting your debts from your assets. For example, if your assets are valued at £750,000 and you have a total debt of £320,000, your estate will be valued at £430,000.

Beneficiaries

A person you would like to leave an asset to is known as a beneficiary. Before you start making your Will, it’s important to consider who you like to benefit from your Will and what you would like to leave (bequeath) to them.

Your lawyer will be able to advise you on the legalities of appointing your beneficiaries.

Executors

The Executor of your Will is the person who will make sure that the wishes in your Will are carried out when you die. It’s common to appoint a spouse, child, or family member to be the executor of your Will. Some people choose to appoint an impartial or professional executor to avoid arguments within the family.

Lyons Bowe can act as the executor of your Will, so if you would like to discuss appointing an impartial executor of your Will, just ask your lawyer and they’ll be able to help.

Donations

You may wish to leave a gift to charity in your Will. To do this, you will need to charity’s full name, address, and registered charity number. If you do not include this information correctly, your donation may not make its way to the charity.

It’s also important to consider how you’d like to leave your donation. A fixed value i.e. £2,000 may not be inflation proof and have less of an impact in 20 or 30 years, where as leaving a percentage of your Will i.e. 2% will protect your gift against inflation.

Additionally, the way you choose to leave a gift can have an impact on how much inheritance tax your beneficiaries might need to pay, so if you are planning on leaving a gift in your Will to a charity, make sure you discuss this with your lawyer to assess all of the options open to you.

HINTS & TIPS

If you plan on leaving a gift to charity in your Will, you might qualify for the Lyons Bowe Free Wills Service. You can ask your lawyer for more information, or click here to find out more. 

Inheritance
Tax

Your lawyer will be able to help you to plan for Inheritance Tax in your Will. However, it’s important to consider that couples who are not married or in a civil partnership do not benefit from the transferrable Nil Rate Band.

Who is
Involved?

AT A GLANCE

You

Lyons Bowe

Your Witnesses

Executor

Beneficiary

Trustee

You

Throughout making your Will, you will:

  • Nominate executors of your Will
  • Decide how you would like to allocate your estate
  • Choose your beneficiaries
  • Make decisions about your residual assets (anything left over)
  • Think about what will happen should a beneficiary die before you
  • Sign your Will
  • Decide how your Will is stored
  • Be responsible for updating your Will

Lyons
Bowe

Throughout making your Will, your lawyer and their team will:

  • Confirm your identity
  • Meet with you to discuss your wishes and circumstances
  • Give you comprehensive guidance and support
  • Answer any questions you might have about Wills and LPAs
  • Help you to write a Will that is right for you, satisfied your wishes, and protects the Will from being contested
  • Safely and securely store your Will, although you can make your own storage arrangements should you wish
  • Help you to write a Letter of Wishes should you choose to write one
  • Act as executor of your Estate should you wish

Your
Witnesses

Throughout making a Will, your witnesses will:

  • Confirm that the person signing the Will is the same person who wrote the Will
  • Be present when you sign the Will
  • Sign the Will as a witness, however they are not required to know the contents of the Will

Executor

After you die, the Executor of your Will, will:

  • ‘Execute’ or ‘carry out’ your wishes outlined in your Will
  • Receive copies of your Will or the original if they wish
  • Arrange your funeral
  • Obtain a valuation of your estate
  • Be responsible for your property, post, and assets upon your death
  • Apply for probate
  • Arrange payment of inheritance tax

Beneficiary

A beneficiary will:

  • Receive any assets or items that you ‘bequeathed’ or ‘left’ for them in your Will
  • Be contacted by Lyons Bowe upon your death to outline what has been left to them in your Will

Trustee

A trustee will:

  • Be responsible for looking after any asset that sits within a trust, until the beneficiaries of the asset can gain access to it

How Making a
Will Works

AT A GLANCE

Welcome Pack

Planning Meeting

Drafting Your Will

Approve Your Will

Sign & Store

Welcome
Pack

When you’re ready to start making your Will, your lawyer and their team will be in touch to introduce themselves and answer any questions you might have. They will also send you a Welcome Pack complete with important information and documents that you will need to sign and return to us in order to proceed to the next steps of making your Will.

Planning
Meeting

You might not need a planning meeting if your Will is very straight forward and we’ve already obtained all of the information we need during your welcome call. If you need a planning meeting, you have full flexibility over how you have this meeting. We can hold your meeting:

  • In person at one of our offices
  • Over a video call via Teams, Zoom, or another app
  • Over the telephone

Drafting Your
Will

Once we have planned your Will and your wishes, we will send you a draft of your Will for you to read. You will need to let us know at this stage if there are any changes or amendments you would like to make to the Will before we prepare your final Will.

The draft Will is not legally binding or usable.

Approve Your
Will

Having made any amendments to your Will, you will need to confirm that you approve the Will. Once you have approved your Will, we will then proceed to arrange a convenient time to meet to sign your Will. Alternatively, we can send the Will to you to sign remotely with your two witnesses.

Sign &
Store

Signing your Will correctly is essential to ensuring your Will is enforceable. We will send you a guide explaining how to sign your Will properly and legally. You can find out more in the next section about how to sign your Will properly.

When it comes to storing your Will, you can arrange storage for your Will yourself, or we can store your Will for you free of charge.

How To Sign
Your Will

AT A GLANCE

Appoint Two Witnesses

You Sign the Will

Witnesses Sign the Will

Date the Will

Appoint Two
Witnesses

It’s important to note that your witnesses:

  • Must be over 18 years of age
  • Shouldn’t be members of your family
  • Can’t benefit from the will, neither should their partners
  • Should not act as the executor or trustee of your Will

You Sign
the Will

Sign the Will at the end of the document on the line above the word “Testator/Testatrix” with your usual signature.

  • You must sign the Will before your Witnesses sign the Will
  • You and your witnesses must sign in black ink
  • Your witnesses must be present when you sign the Will

Witnesses Sign
the Will

Your witnesses sign the Will on the line above the word “Witness” with their usual signature.

Witnesses will also be required to fill in their full names, addresses, and occupations in block capitals below their signature

Date the
Will

Write the date that the Will was signed on the front page of the Will

  • Do not attach anything to your Will, for example a covering letter or compliment slip with a paperclip or staple
  • Do not damage or deface your Will in any way

Types of
Wills

AT A GLANCE

Single Will

Mirror Will

Free Wills

Will Quiz

Single
Will

A single Will is made by one person. They may be in a relationship or single, but need a Will that covers specific wishes that are unique to them.

For example, a married couple may choose to make two single Wills as they both have separate assets or different wishes about what should happen to their assets when they die.

Take our quiz to find out which type of Will is right for you

Mirror
Will

Mirror Wills can be made by anyone, regardless of relationship status. Two married people might make a mirror Will because they both wish to leave all of their assets to each other, then their children. They have identical wishes, so it makes sense to make a Mirror Will.

The same can be said for unmarried people, too. You may wish to make a Mirror Will with a sibling, family member, or friend.

Free
Wills

WHAT IS THE SERVICE?

We have partnered with Cancer Research UK to make the Free Wills Service. This service means that you can make a Will with Lyons Bowe, and you’ll only need to pay for your disbursements (usually less than £30). All we ask is that you consider leaving a life saving gift in your Will to Cancer Research UK, to help fund research for generations to come.

WHO QUALIFIES FOR THE SERVICE?

Anyone! Anyone can make use of the service. It’s important to note that if your Will becomes more complex, then you may incur additional fees but your lawyer will discuss this with you before any work is completed so that you are in control at all times.

WHICH WILLS ARE INCLUDED IN THE SERVICE?

You can use the Free Wills Service to make either a single, or a Mirror Will. You can make a Free Will using either our telephone, or face to face services, however they may incur an additional cost based on your circumstances so be sure to let us know if you have any specific wishes that you would like to add to your Will when you talk to us.

WHAT DOES MY LEGACY DO?

The breakthroughs being made in the South West are only possible thanks to the generosity of Cancer Research UK supporters. With this support Cancer Research UK funds over 4,000 scientists, doctors and nurses across the UK.

More than a third of Cancer Research UK projects are funded by gifts left in Wills. Legacies breathe life into researchers’ work. They enable long-term research projects that lead to new treatments and continue to save lives for generations to come, leading us to a world where everybody can lead longer, better lives, free from the fear of cancer.

In the past 40 years, cancer survival has doubled in part thanks to Cancer Research UK’s pioneering research, funded by the generosity of their supporters. Cancer Research UK wants to accelerate progress and see 3 in 4 people surviving their cancer by 2034. They cannot achieve this mission alone and rely on their dedicated scientists, doctors and nurses, and the generosity of their supporters across the UK.

1 in 2 people will get cancer in their lifetime.
All of us can support the research that will beat it.

Will
Quiz

Not sure which Will is right for you? Get in touch to find out the type of Will that best suits your needs.