Kwaetus' Guide to Making a Will
The act of writing a Will has always been made to sound more complicated and expensive than it really is or needs to be for most people. You can make your Will as simple or as complicated as you like, after all, it is your Will. Another preconception about writing a Will is age, but Wills can be written at any age- the earlier the better. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with being organised and forward thinking.
In this guide, we’ll cover all you need to know about getting started, what to include and how to make your will legally valid.
Why write a Will?
Once you die, the instructions you have given within your Will will be followed by the people you have instructed to do so. Writing a Will means your possessions, money and property, legally known as your ‘estate’, go to the right people- the people that you want to pass those things on to. Without a Will, the law will decide who becomes the new owner or owners of your ‘estate’.
There are other advantages to having a well-thought-out Will in place such as inheritance tax avoidance that could save you and your loved ones money. For more on inheritance tax have a look at our guide here .
Plus, leaving a Will is your last chance to say goodbye to family and friends and express how you would like them to celebrate your life when you’ve gone. You can do this in your Kwaetus account and then click share to make sure everyone who needs a copy receives one. With a Kwaetus subscription you can update your instructions as many times as you like, so your Will, is always exactly how you want it. We’ll take a closer look at what you could include within the ceremony planning section of your Will below.
What should be included in your will?
A Will can be hand-written or typed on any kind of paper in any style or order and include whatever you like, but most Wills do include how you wish for your funeral or end of life celebration to be carried out and what will happen to your estate. For example, who will inherit your home, who will receive any of your investments, or who will take over the running of a family business.
At Kwaetus, we start the writing of our Wills or letter of wishes with the ceremony planning because the celebration of your life and the creation of an event for your family and friends to reunite and come to terms with your death together should come first.
As you can see from the above screenshots of a Kwaetus account, you have space to leave your last words, choose the venue of the ceremony, what music should be played and when and provide a menu for the event, if you wish to do so.
Traditionally, the dress code of funerals is for all guests to be dressed in black as a mark of respect for the deceased, however, dress codes have been known to include football stripes, fancy dress, colourful outfits, or just casual wear, at the deceased’s request. Some people choose to do this to represent their personality while they were still alive or simply to mark the occasion. It all depends on your own wishes and how you would like people to remember you and celebrate your end of life.
A simple funeral can cost from anywhere between £1,000 to £3,000 depending on how many guests attend and what you include in your plan. The budget and source of budget are important to consider, you can arrange a prepaid funeral plan so your family and friends do not have to worry about having enough funds or how to access the money you have left to cover the cost of your ceremony.
Not sure how to arrange a funeral? Kwaetus’ Guide to Arranging a Funeral.
A physical marker is another option open to you to leave a bit of yourself behind and for loved ones to return and feel closer to you such as a bench at your favourite spot in a park or overlooking a canal or the planting of a tree dedicated to your name.
Next, you should consider including the people you want to benefit from your death, what each person will receive and who will be the executor. To make things as easy as possible for your loved ones once you have died the details for your bank accounts, insurance, investments and pensions such as account, policy and contact numbers should be stated in your Will.
Any property and possessions such as a car should be listed with the name of the person you would like to inherit them and include what you would like to happen to any pets you have, who would you like their new owner to be?
Your Will is also the place to state your end of life care wishes regarding life support as you can see from the screenshot of a Kwaetus account :
A Will would be your only way of controlling what happens to you in this situation, therefore, careful consideration as to what action to state here for the welfare of yourself and loved ones is strongly advised.
With the growth of the internet and social media, we’re now seeing many people including their wishes as to how they want their online accounts handled after their death. Your Kwaetus account allows this option (captured below) and can be updated at any point. If you wish to have them deleted, it will make it easier if you also state your username and password for each account.
Another option people like to include in their Will is the instructions to donate to charity. If this is the case, make sure to state which charity, what you’re donating (money and/or property) and how much. By bequeathing £1000 or more to a charity of your choice through your Kwaetus account, we’ll gift you your first year’s subscription with us for free. Already know which charity? Create your Kwaetus account.
What is an Executor?
An executor is the person you have named on your Will to be the one that puts your instructions into action by applying for probate once you’re gone.
Want to know more about probate? A Kwaetus Guide to Probate.
It’s a good idea to pick someone you trust such as a relative or friend and select a second person in case your first choice of executor is unavailable for any reason.
Executors can still benefit from your ‘estate’ if you have stated so in your Will.
For more complex Wills, it can be best to select a solicitor as your executor, this does come at a cost, but it may save upset and conflict for your remaining loved ones. Kwaetus can connect you with local and professional solicitors, email us for further information.
Who can be a witness to your Will?
To make your will legally valid you must be witnessed signing it by two other people. Witnesses cannot benefit from your ‘estate’. Therefore, think carefully as to who you ask to be your witnesses because you cannot add them to your Will to inherit anything after you have passed.
Witnesses are different from executors; the table below shows what each can and cannot do regarding your Will and ‘estate’.
|Can inherit from your estate?||No||Yes||Yes|
|Can act as your Executor?||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Can witness your will?||Yes||Yes||No|
|Need to be present when will is signed?||Yes||No||No|
|Need to be over 18 in England and Wales?||Yes||Yes||No|
How do you get your Will witnessed while self-isolating?
COVID-19 has brought about a lot of changes in the past few months especially for those having to self-isolate. This has demanded a new way of operating and creative problem-solving, therefore, the Government has introduced new legislation allowing the witnessing of Wills to be done through online video calls.
But how will this work?
- All concerning members including you, the two witnesses and the Will writer, must be present within the same live video call.
- The video call of the signing must be recorded so it can be presented in court at a later date if need be.
- The Will itself must be seen by all members of the call and read aloud.
- Just before you sign your will in front of the camera you must say the following out loud “I [first name], [last name], wish to make a Will of my own free will and sign it here before these witnesses, who are witnessing me doing this remotely”
- Both witnesses must then state and confirm that they have seen you sign the Will and they understand the duties of being a witness.
- The will then need to be transported to both witnesses for them to sign. According to the current guidelines, this should be done within 24 hours of you signing the will.
- Once the Will has arrived to the witnesses, their signing of your Will must be done via video call with all members watching and the call must be recorded.
- Witnesses must hold the Will up to the camera while signing it or, point and confirm which is their signature.
Online Will signing for those in self-isolation is said to be staying in place until 31st January 2022.
How much does writing a Will cost?
The cost of a Will depends on your own personal circumstances, wishes and the size of your ‘estate’, but the average cost can be from £30 up to £500 or more due to solicitor fees. Plus, you will have to pay extra fees every time you want to make an update to it.
Kwaetus offers a subscription starting from £5.99 per year and gives you space to:
- Plan your ceremony
- Give to charity
- Create your Will
- Share your Will with loved ones
- Edit as many times as you like
- Print it so you can get it signed and witnessed
Where to keep your Will?
After someone dies, finding their Will can be a challenge, some keep it locked in a safe, ask the solicitor to keep hold of it, or just simply put it with all their other paperwork which can make it a hard task to retrieve.
It is best to keep your Will where it is easy to find and inform your selected executor exactly where that place is and give them any passwords they may need to get to it such as a locked safe. Kwaetus keeps your Will secure in one place and gives you the option of notifying family and friends online that you have made a Will and where to find it; you can even share the content of the Will too.
Why not give it a try and sign up for Kwaetus’ Free Trial to see how easy creating a Will or Letter of Wishes really is?
For the more complex wills, Kwaetus can connect you with local and professional Will writers, email us for further information.