Making a will is the best way to ensure that your wishes regarding your property, money and possessions are carried out after your death. If you die without a will, the decision about who inherits your money, property and possessions is made by the law.

There are many benefits to making plans and expressing your wishes while you still can. Making a will can improve your quality of life by reducing your own anxiety and stress and that of your family and loved ones when you die. It can be a comfort to know that you have secured financial security for your loved ones or that you have shared your wishes in a formal way.

This page will help you to understand why making a will is a good idea and how to get started. If you are interested in remembering Trinity in your will, or our free will services, please click here.

Getting started with your will

Many people delay writing their will as they think it will be a complicated process, but this isn’t the case. Making a will is a relatively simple process and a legal adviser can guide you through it, or you can manage it on your own with the support available online.

Asking a legal professional such as a solicitor or using an online will writing service is preferable to writing your will yourself. It is the safer option as they can answer any questions you have and will know the correct legal wording to ensure your will is legally binding.

The first steps to writing a will

  1. Make a list of everything you own, including property, money, cars, savings, shares, investments, life insurance policies, and all your valuables and possessions. You should also list debts including mortgages, credit cards, loans and overdrafts.
  2. Work out the approximate value of these assets and debts
  3. Decide who should benefit from your estate, e.g. family, friends, charities and how you want to divide it. There are three types of legacy that you can give to beneficiaries of your will:
    1. Residuary legacy: a gift of the remainder of your estate, or a percentage, after all other legacies and any debts cleared. Residuary legacies keep pace with inflation and are an effective way to divide the value of an estate between several people and causes
    2. Pecuniary legacy: Leaving a fixed sum of money in your will. It is worth noting pecuniary gifts can devalue over time due to inflation, so it is worth reviewing your will regularly.
    3. Specific legacy: You can choose to leave property or specific items in your will such as art, jewellery, furniture or stocks and shares.
  4. Decide who to appoint as your executor(s), i.e. the people who will administer your estate
  5. Write your will. You may choose to do this through a lawyer or professional will writer. Some charities and banks offer free will writing services, or you may choose to write your own although you must make sure it is written, signed and witnessed in a way that makes it legally valid.
  6. Store your will safely with your solicitor, in a safe place at home, or with your bank. You should let your executors know where your will is kept.

Help from Trinity with writing your will

Throughout the year we run a Free Will Scheme for our patients and regular Free Will Fortnights for our supporters. These schemes allow patients to make or amend a simple will for free at any time of the year and supporters to make or amend a simple will for free at set times of the year. Our team of local solicitors can visit you at home or here at Trinity.

This page will help you to understand why making a will is a good idea and how to get started. If you are interested in remembering Trinity in your will, or our free will services, please click here. If you would like to book an appointment with a solicitor for this service, please contact us on 020 7787 1000 or by email.

Where to find help with will writing

Below are some links which provide guidance and information to help with writing a will.

Making a will –

Step-by step support with writing a will and everything you need to consider when writing or updating your will.

Wills – Citizens Advice

Helpful information about writing a will, including how to appoint a solicitor and what it should cost, making, changing, destroying and challenging a will.

Personalised support - SBS 

St Bernard Support is a social enterprise supporting people with life-limiting illnesses with financial and practical support and advice. They offer confidential support and advice by phone that can support you with will writing, estate planning and minimising long-term care costs.

Read our FAQ blog with wills and probate expert Katie Spence

More information about planning for the future

Find out how you can support Trinity by leaving a legacy in your will and more information about our free will writing services