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How to write or update your Will

See our step-by-step guide to writing a Will and how to update an existing Will.

Writing your will

See our step-by-step guide to writing a Will.

The advice on this page applies to Will writing laws in England and Wales. If you live in Scotland or Northern Ireland, different laws may apply. When writing your Will, we strongly advise speaking to a solicitor with expertise in Wills and Probate.

1. Work out the value of your estate

Make a list of your assets and how much they are worth – for example, any property, valuables and savings. Then do the same with any debts. Take away the total of what you owe from the value of what you own to work out your estate value.

2. Decide who you’d like to leave a gift to and how

Choose the friends, relatives or charities you’d like to remember in your Will, and how you’d like to divide your estate between them.

There are three different types of gift that you can leave:

Residuary gift – This is a percentage of what is left in your final estate after all your other gifts and payments have been made. You can choose what proportion of your estate is left to friends, family or charity.

Pecuniary gift – This is a set amount of money, the value of which may decrease over time due to inflation.

Specific gift – A particular item such as a piece of jewellery, a painting or a car.

3. Choose your executors

The executors of your Will are responsible for making sure your wishes are fulfilled. You can appoint up to four executors and you need to name them in your Will.

Choose relatives or close friends you feel you can trust, and check they are willing to take on the role. Being an executor can involve a lot of work and responsibility, so it’s a good idea to choose at least two executors so they can share the duties.

If you don’t have any friends or relatives who you feel would be suitable, you can appoint a professional executor, such as a solicitor or accountant. The professional executor’s fee will be paid for out of your estate.

4. Write your Will

It’s important to get a legal professional to help you write your Will to make sure your wishes are properly carried out. A Will is a legal document so it needs to be written and signed correctly.

RNID has teamed up with two professional Will writing services that can help you write your Will free and make the process as straightforward as possible.

If you’d prefer, you can find a solicitor who specialises in Wills on the Law Society website.

If you decide to write your own will, it’s best to get legal advice first.

5. Keep your Will safe

Your solicitor can look after your Will for you, but you might want to keep your own copy in a safe place. Tell the executors of your Will where to find it.

You might want to review your Will to check it’s up to date every five years or so.

Find out more about our Will writing services.

Updating your existing Will

If you want to update your existing Will, the easiest way may be to draw up an additional document. This is called a codicil – an addition, amendment or supplement to your existing Will.

The Will writing services we work with can help you do this free of charge. Alternatively, you can get in touch with our Gifts in Wills team.

Contact us

If you are deaf, have hearing loss or tinnitus and need free confidential and impartial information and support, contact RNID.

We’re open 8:30am to 5pm, Monday to Friday.

Leaving a gift to RNID

If you make the very generous decision to leave a gift in your Will to RNID, please give the following details to your chosen solicitor or Will writing service:

Charity name: RNID
Registered office address: Brightfield Business Hub, Bakewell Road, Orton Southgate, Peterborough, PE2 6XU.
Charity number: 207720 (England and Wales) or SC038926 (Scotland).

Page last updated: 18 December 2023

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