Making your will the right way

Like all legal documents, your will must meet certain requirements.

Firstly, a will must be signed and witnessed to be valid. You must have two witnesses who can’t be beneficiaries or be married to a beneficiary.

If your circumstances change – perhaps selling a business or having a child – you will need to update your will. These changes also need to be signed and witnessed.

If you marry, any previous will you have made will usually be invalid, so you must make a new one, this is the case in both England and Wales, but not Scotland. Remember, unmarried partners don’t automatically inherit, and stepchildren won’t automatically be included in provisions for ‘children’.

If you are excluding a close family member, make it clear why you are doing this and what you want done with the money. If your reasons aren’t clear the individual could contest your will in the courts.

You should ideally name at least two executors to sort out your financial affairs after you die. Executors can be beneficiaries, such as relatives or friends, or you could appoint a solicitor instead. If you don’t appoint an executor or your executor has predeceased you, the probate court will appoint an executor on your behalf.

This article is for general information purposes only. Please speak to a will writing professional for advice. The Financial Conduct Authority does not regulate will writing.