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Making a will

Why should you make a will when you’ve had a baby?

No one knows what’s round the corner so it’s best to be prepared just in case.

A will isn’t just about money. It can also show who should look after your children as a guardian if anything happens to you. It can also set out financial arrangements for your children as they grow up.

If you do decide to go ahead with making a will, there are three main options to choose from:

  1. Ask a solicitor to draw it up
  2. Use a will writing service
  3. Write your own will.

Using a solicitor to write your will

A solicitor should write you a watertight will that does exactly what you want it to. It’s the most expensive option but will give you most peace of mind.

You should definitely consider a solicitor if:

  • your estate could be liable for Inheritance Tax. For 2019/20 this applies if your estate’s value, including property, exceeds £325,000
  • you want to discuss your options with an expert or you need some support you can trust
  • you want to protect someone’s interests after you’ve gone, like a disabled family member
  • you’ve got a complex family situation with former partners or estranged children, and you want to divide your estate as you wish.

Use a will-writing service

This is a cheaper option than a solicitor. It offers some support and advice, but you’ll get what you pay for.

If you’re deciding whether to choose a will writer or a solicitor, remember that:

  • a will writer may not be legally qualified
  • a will writing service might not have been trading as long as a solicitors firm – important if you want them to store your will
  • will writers aren’t regulated in the same way as solicitors - try and use a will writer who’s a member of a professional organisation.

Many charities such as Will Aid offer free will-writing services and hope for a donation. Some are only available to the over 55s and some may not be available near where you live.

Write your own will

The cheapest – and perhaps riskiest way – to write a will is to do it yourself. You can buy templates online or at stationery shops.

This is only a suitable option if your affairs are very simple. For example, if you’re married or in a civil partnership, with children, and want to leave everything to the surviving partner on the first death, and your children in equal shares on the second death.

The template should show what you need to do to ensure it is signed, dated and witnessed properly and that your old wills are revoked.

It’s important to follow these rules, otherwise there is a risk your home-made will may be invalid.

Find out more about making a will from the Money Advice Service.