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how and why make a will

An up-to-date, professionally written will is the only way to ensure the people and causes you care about are provided for. On this page find out how to find a solicitor, how much a will costs and where to keep it.

What is a will for?

A will is a legally binding document that sets out your wishes. It specifies how your estate and belongings are to be distributed on your death. It can also help to put in place the practical arrangements that need to be taken care of when the time comes, such as who you wish to appoint as guardians to your children.

It is a positive expression of those people and causes that are close to your heart.

What if I don’t have a will?

If you die without a will, this is called ‘intestacy’. It is not the case that everything will automatically go to your partner. In fact the rules of ‘intestacy’ mean that without a valid will, you could end up helping the taxman out rather than the people or causes that you would want to. Find out what would happen to your estate under the rules of intestacy (pdf, 118kb).

Isn’t a will expensive?

A simple will can be drafted by a solicitor for as little as £150.

It is vitally important to get independent advice from your solicitor when you are making or updating your will. Your solicitor will be able to advise on wording, tax implications, legal requirements. He/she can also help redraft an existing will or add a codicil if your circumstances have changed.

To find a solicitor in your area, visit The Law Society website.

What do I need to do before seeing a solicitor?

It is a good idea to think about what your estate is worth before you see a solicitor. This will help you decide how you would like to distribute your estate and belongings. Find out how to calculate the value of your estate.

Read our jargon buster which explains all those unfamiliar legal terms.

Do I have to update my will regularly?

Checking your will from time to time is important, particularly if your personal circumstances have changed. Perhaps you have a windfall inheritance, maybe you’re getting married or possibly there’s another grandchild on the way. Whatever happens, it can be relatively easy to update your will.

Small changes and additions can easily be made by adding a codicil. This is a legally valid document which can be appended to your will. A codicil needs to be witnessed and signed in the same way that a will is.

If you wish to make more complicated changes or add residuary gifts, you will need to update the whole will. Your solicitor or professional advisor can help.

Where should I keep my will?

Once you’ve made a will, it’s important that it can be found easily when it’s needed. It’s best to leave the original with your solicitor or in another safe place such as a bank.  Keep a copy at home in a safe place and tell your executors or immediate family where they can find it. Review your will every few years to make sure it reflects your current circumstances.

Why remember Epilepsy Society in your will?

If you are able to, please remember Epilepsy Society in your will. With your help we can continue making a real and lasting contribution to the lives of people with epilepsy.

Find out why leaving a gift in your will makes such a difference to our work. Or if you have already decided, find out how to leave us a gift in your will including a guide to the types of gifts and sample wording.

More information about making a will

See GOV.UK - making a Will for more information on the financial reasons to make a will.

Get in touch

If you want more information about leaving a legacy to us or have a question, please get in touch. Please note that we cannot provide legal advice, your solicitor is the best person to advise you, taking into account your personal circumstances. Contact us using the legacy contact form or if you prefer you can phone, email or write to us:

Telephone: 01494 601 313
Email: fundraising@epilepsysociety.org.uk
Address: Fundraising Department, Epilepsy Society, Chesham Lane, Chalfont St Peter, Buckinghamshire, SL9 0RJ