Writing a valid will: a checklist
Here is a checklist for writing a valid will. It includes items that you should organise and matters that you will want to bear in mind.
- Revoke earlier wills: ordinarily this is done by inserting a revocation clause in your new will.
- Retrieve / destroy copies of earlier wills: this may be sensible to avoid any future confusion.
- Make a basic inventory of your assets: to get an idea of what you have -- you may have more than you think!
- Note down where your assets are located: investment accounts, insurance policies, bank accounts, title deeds -- these may be in a variety of locations.
- Family members?
- Friends / others?
- Specific items?
- Family / close friend(s).
- Professionals: a mix of friends/family and professionals may be desirable.
- For minor children.
- For other vulnerable beneficiaries.
- Major responsibility -- discuss in advance. This is of crucial importance. Someone who agrees to take on a guardianship is taking on a major practical, financial and emotional responsibility.
- Financial provision for guardians -- life insurance proceeds, etc.
- Any trusts to be established in will?
- Trustees (same as executors?).
- Two witnesses (not beneficiaries under will).
- Other (if necessary, appraiser, valuer, commercial property consultant, etc.).
Storage of will
- Solicitor's firm: not required, but often a good practical solution.
- Copies: sometimes it's sensible to give a copy to each executor, trustee and guardian.
- Avoid confusion, avoid competing versions, keep track of copies and electronic versions.