Writing your will: FAQs

Published: by Home Newsletter

Fiona Wilson

Leaving behind something for the people or causes you care about requires an up to date will. But why is it so important?

Fiona Wilson, a Partner at Hempsons Solicitors, shares an insider’s perspective. 

T****he importance of having a will 

‘If you had to give away everything you own today to your loved ones, you’d want to think carefully about how best to do this. The same is true after you die.  

‘If you want to have a say in who will look after your affairs (your executors) and those who will inherit, you need a will. Without one, standard rules apply – and they may not reflect your wishes in any way.’ 

How to find a solicitor and get started 

‘You may put off making a will because you think you must have every detail sorted. But doing something is better than doing nothing. You can set out the main points now and add to it later.  

‘Don’t be put off by the cost – many solicitors offer fixed-fee services for straightforward wills. Try the Law Society website to find one local to you.’ 

Remembering a charity, if you wish to do so 

Claire has left a gift for Shelter in her will

Claire has left a gift for Shelter in her will

‘Including a charity in your will is simple – but it’s only something around 8% of people in the UK choose to do. 

‘The main options are to leave a fixed cash sum, a specific item, or a percentage of your estate (known as a residual gift) – whichever works best for you.’ 

K****eeping your will up to date  

‘It’s sensible to review your will at any major life event, such as the birth of a child or grandchild, on retirement and especially if you marry. This is because in the UK, marriage cancels out an existing will. It often pays to think ahead.’ 

Make or amend your will for free 

As a Shelter supporter, you may be able to make or amend your will for free if you are aged 55+, thanks to our partnership with the Free Wills Network. To find out more, please email our Legacy Adviser, Kate McGrath, at legacies@shelter.org.uk – she’ll be happy to help. 

While there’s no obligation to remember Shelter in your will, we would be very grateful for any gift you choose to make. 

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