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Wills & Probate

How To Write A Will (And How We Take Detailed Instructions)

How to word bequests correctly. And why solicitors document your instructions. Learn how these factors can help to stop legal challenges to your will.

How To Write A Will (And How We Take Detailed Instructions)

Wills: Why Detailed Instructions Matter

When you’re making your will, your solicitor will keep detailed records of your instructions and the reasons for them. This can be very valuable in demonstrating your intentions and decision-making capacity.

These records will serve as valuable documentation to support the validity of your will. They can provide important insights into your mindset at the time you were drafting the will.

In this way, we can maintain clear and comprehensive records of your wishes, decisions and intentions – so your will is better protected against any potential legal challenges.

Giving Specific Reasons For Your Bequests

It is important for us as solicitors to know why you have decided to:

  • bequeath something to someone
  • perhaps give someone less than they expected
  • omit someone from your will.

Your detailed instructions and the reasoning behind them matter greatly. Recording them adds credibility and helps to establish that your decisions were made willingly and with full understanding.

We can advise you on how best to articulate your wishes for optimum clarity, and how to avoid possible ambiguities that could lead to confusion or disputes. We can help you to ensure that your will leaves no room for misinterpretation.

So please tell us the reasons for your decisions, especially any that may be perceived as unconventional or that deviate from the norm. This can be important in addressing legal challenges to your will and explaining the rationale behind specific bequests or omissions.

Writing Your Will

Clearly identify each beneficiary and their relationship to you the testator (the person making the will). This will help to avoid confusion and disputes over the intended recipients of the estate.

If there are known family dynamics or potential sources of conflict, your instructions may address these issues. These instructions could include explanations for unequal distributions among beneficiaries – or decisions that may be unexpected.

You must confirm your understanding of the nature and consequences of making a will. State explicitly that you have the testamentary capacity to make the decisions outlined in the will. Include language that shows you are acting of your own free will, without any influence or coercion from any external parties.

If there are changes or updates to the will, document the reasons for these alterations. This can be important in case the will is challenged, and it helps to demonstrate that changes were made in accordance with your intentions.

Examples Of Detailed Instructions In Your Will

Beneficiary Identification: I, [Your Name], hereby bequeath my antique watch to my son, [Son’s Name], as a token of our shared passion for horology.

Reasons for Omissions: I intentionally omit my estranged sibling, [Sibling’s Name], from my will due to a longstanding history of irreconcilable differences.

Addressing Unequal Distributions: I acknowledge that my daughter, [Daughter’s Name], has received substantial financial assistance during my lifetime, and thus, I bequeath a larger share of my estate to my son, [Son’s Name].

Confirmation of Testamentary Capacity: I declare that I am of sound mind, memory and understanding, and I am making this will of my own volition without any pressure or external influence.

Updates and Changes: This amendment to my will is made to reflect my recent acquisition of [Asset] and to ensure that it is included in the distribution of my estate.

Letters Of Wishes

It is also well worth writing a Letter of Wishes to accompany your will. This letter is not legally binding but provides additional guidance to the executors and beneficiaries regarding your intentions.

Ultimately, the goal is to create a comprehensive and clear record of your wishes, your decisions and your reasons behind them. This can serve as valuable evidence in the event of a will challenge and contributes to the overall integrity of the testamentary process.

Further Reading

  • Why More Wills Are Being Contested. Read more…
  • Can I Help My Mum Or Dad To Change Their Will? Can A Power Of Attorney Change A Will? Read more…
  • Registering Lasting Powers Of Attorney. Read more…
  • Statutory Wills: How To Change Someone’s Will If They’ve Lost Mental Capacity. Read more…
  • How Can A STEP Wills And Probate Solicitor Help Me? Read more…

Get Expert Legal Advice On Making A Will

Contact Associate Solicitor Kerry Hay for expert legal advice on wills, probate, Inheritance Tax planning, powers of attorney, trusts and Court of Protection matters.

Kerry qualified as a solicitor in 2013 after studying at Bournemouth University and the Oxford Institute of Legal Practice.

She is a member of the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners (STEP), a worldwide organisation of lawyers, accountants, trustees and other practitioners with extensive experience of wills and probate matters. Members must have at least five years’ experience of wills and probate. They must also pass strict selection criteria.

Kerry is also accredited by the Association of Lifetime Lawyers, formerly known as Solicitors for the Elderly. It is a national organisation of 1,500 lawyers dedicated to helping older and vulnerable clients.

Contact Kerry at our Fleetsbridge office.

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