Will writing for new parents Why new parents need to write a will
It might be the last thing on your mind as you adapt to your busy new life as a parent, but making a will is part of your responsibility to your children.
While you might feel overwhelmed by the day-to-day responsibilities of being a parent, making time to arrange your will is really important. Having a well-thought-out will in place will provide you with peace of mind and reassurance about your children's future.
You can find more advice on writing a will online, by visiting the Which? Wills website. The advice below applies to England and Wales.
Why do you need a will?
If you die without a will, it could lead to a lot of uncertainty and financial worry for your family and dependents. It also means that your wishes may not be taken in to account when it comes to passing on your estate and guardianship of your children. The way your estate will be divided could be decided by a complex set of laws called intestacy rules.
By writing a will you can make sure that if you or your partner were to die, your estate would be divided up in the way you wanted it to be. Making a will also allows you to appoint guardians for your children - if you don’t do this, your Local Authority or court may be left to decide who should look after your children.
Did you know?
If you don't have a will...
- your spouse, cohabitee, partner or civil partner won't automatically inherit everything
- if you are not married to your partner, they won't inherit anything
- your step children won't inherit anything.
How to write your first will
When it comes to making your will you have a number of options. Here we explain the pros and cons of each:
Writing your own will
You do have the choice of writing your own will. Many people manage to successfully write their own will without legal assistance, but there is a chance you could make a mistake. If you decided to do this, be sure that the final copy is signed and witnessed.
Pros: Cheaper option, doesn't require professional advice
Cons: Higher chance of making a mistake
Using a solicitor
If you use a solicitor, you'll be able to discuss your preferences with them and they will also be able to store your will for you. A solicitor will be qualified and regulated. Also, solicitors must carry indemnity insurance and they will retain a will file that may be referred to if the will is subject to a challenge - this is particularly important if the will disinherits someone who expects to inherit or there is any issue over capacity or undue influence.
Pros: You will get advice from a qualified expert, solicitors are well-equipped for challenges to a will
Cons: More expensive
These offer an alternative to using a solicitor, but will writers do not have to be qualified. If you decide to use a will-writing company, ensure they are part of a recognised and professional body with a code of practice.
Pros: Can be cheaper than using a solicitor
Cons: Will writers are not necessarily qualified
Online will-writing services
You might find that using an online will-writing service is a quicker and more convenient option. It’s worth clarifying how qualified the company is to give you legal guidance before you hand over any cash.
Which? Wills offers you a straightforward and time-efficient solution to putting your affairs in order. You can write a single will for £89 and a will for you and your partner for £149. Your online wills questionnaire will be checked thoroughly by our will experts, who will then send it to you with full instructions on how to get your will signed and witnessed.
Pros: Can be quicker and convenient
Cons: You need to choose a company with good credentials or you may not be getting qualified advice