It’s hard enough coming to terms with the loss of a loved one, but a financial nightmare is one thing your family can do without. Making a Will isn’t morbid, but simple common sense, irrespective of your age. After all, it informs those left behind what should happen to your estate – your money, property and possessions – after you’ve died.

It’s not just about the money

Many people think a Will simply decides who gets the house and your bank account, but it can cover so much more. You can make charitable donations, leave money in trust, confirm guardians for your children, make care arrangements for pets and leave individual items to people. So, your children might be left the main bulk of the estate evenly, but your grandchildren and godchildren could receive pieces of jewellery, art, cars etc. You can also make specific requests for what kind of funeral and memorial you want.

Where do I start?

Think of the people closest to you i.e. family members. How much do you want to leave them? If it is indeed the whole lot then it should be a relatively straightforward task. Extending that to friends or long lost relatives will perhaps make things more time-consuming.

Can I draft my own Will?

Writing your own Will (DIY) should only be considered if your wishes are relatively straightforward i.e. leaving everything to your husband or wife or, if they die before you, you’d like everything to go to your children. However, there is a risk that any mistakes, even as simple as spelling of people’s names, could make the Will confusing, or you might use the wrong wording, which could invalidate it. Always ensure it is signed, dated and witnessed correctly.

When should I use an expert – and will it be costly?

Things tend to get more complicated the more people you include, or if there are business partnerships or foreign property to factor in. At this point it would be advisory to seek advice from a solicitor or Will-writing service. You can expect to pay from £200 + VAT for a single, straightforward Will to be drawn up at Owen Kenny Solicitors; husband and wife straightforward mirror Wills are from £300 for the pair + VAT.

Who can I go to for help?

Owen Kenny Solicitors in central Chichester specialise in Wills & Probate work by their Private Client team; other legal services offered include family law, civil litigation (dispute resolution), residential conveyancing and commercial property. Please call 01243 532777 to make an appointment or visit www.owenkenny.co.uk.