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Planning for Later Life: Making a Will

Published on 23 February 2024 02:21 PM

Although it can be uncomfortable, it’s important to have open and honest conversations about what will happen after you die. It can make things a lot easier for loved ones and helps them ensure they’re acting how you would want them to. 

Why is it important to make a will?

If you do not have a will in place when you die, you’re said to have died ‘intestate’ which means your estate is divided up according to the statutory rules of intestacy. This may not reflect your wishes about who benefits and how.

A will is the only way to make sure everything you own goes to the people and causes you want it to. It helps your loved ones know they’re acting how you would want them to and can help prevent disputes so it’s important your will is clear. Your will can also include funeral preferences, another way you can help loved ones after you’ve gone.

How do I make a will?

There are a few different ways to make a will, depending on what suits you best. You can use a specialist wills and probate lawyer who will charge you a fee for this work. A benefit of using a lawyer is that they can advise you on any Inheritance Tax issues that may arise, they may also be able to securely store you will for you.

Another way to organise your will if you’re over 55 is by accessing specialist help during Free Wills Month. These take place in both March and November in England and Wales. During these months a group of charities offer people the opportunity to have a simple will written or updated free of charge by a participating solicitor. You can find out more information at

You can also use Will Aid in November, which is a UK-wide scheme run every year. Unlike Free Wills Month, there’s no age restriction, but you’ll be asked to donate to support the work of the nine charities taking part in the scheme. The Will Aid website has more information -

Your bank may also offer will-writing services and advice about estate planning. The best thing to do is contact your local branch to find out if this is something they do and book an appointment with an advisor. There is usually a fee for this service so it’s important to be aware of this before starting the process.

And finally, you can opt to do it for yourself. There are DIY will kits and forms available from stationary shops or to download, however, it’s easy to make mistakes, miss out important information, or be unsure on how to fill them out. A will is a legal document that needs to be written and signed correctly, with issues potentially causing costly legal problems for your beneficiaries and executors after your death, so it’s best to get professional advice.

What do I include?

The most important thing to bear in mind when writing your will is being clear about what you want to happen and the assets in your estate. You should state:

  • Who you want to benefit from your will
  • Whether you wish to give any specific gifts or items to particular people
  • Where you want any property or money left over after paying funeral and administrative expenses, legacies, and taxes to go
  • What you want to happen if any of your beneficiaries should die before you
  • Whether you want to leave any money to charity such as Age UK Norfolk
  • Who will deal with your estate after your death

You can also include a Letter of Wishes if you would like. This is a non-legal document that accompanies your will listing specific items, usually of sentimental value, you wish to give to people. If these items are of a high value, it’s usually advised to include them in your will as it will then be legally binding.

Who can help me with a will? 

There are many steps and things to consider when writing a will so it’s advisable to get professional assistance. If you have an existing relationship with a solicitor with a specialist Wills and Probate department, they should be able to help. You can find a solicitor specialising in wills and probate through The Law Society -

Age Co offers a professional will service covering writing and updating your will, provided by a professional solicitor. You can find more information here - Age Co | Legal Services. 

See our Information and Advice page for more information -