Key issues to think about include:
- Who you want to inherit — your beneficiaries — and whether you want to leave them particular items, a specific sum of money or a share of your estate.
- Who your executors will be — the people legally responsible for carrying out your wishes after you have died.
- Whether you want to set up a trust in your will — for example, for beneficiaries who are too young to give money to outright when you die, or who need ongoing care, or just to save inheritance tax.
- Whether you want to appoint guardians to look after younger or disabled beneficiaries after you die.
- Making sure the will is properly signed and witnessed. Witnesses (and their spouses or civil partners) cannot inherit under your will so don’t ask anyone you want to inherit to be a witness.
- Whether anyone might be able to claim ‘reasonable financial provision’ from your estate if you decide not to leave them anything (or as much as they are entitled to).
- Any opportunities to reduce the amount of inheritance tax.
A good option is to think through all the key issues yourself, but then ask a solicitor to draw up the actual will for you. This gives you the opportunity to get any advice you need: for example, on complex issues like inheritance tax or setting up a trust for children. It is not expensive, especially given that a will disposes of absolutely everything you own. Any mistake or uncertainty could cause a great deal of extra unhappiness for your loved ones at what is already a difficult time for them.