1. Choose your drafts man carefully
Drafting of a will requires due diligence. Therefore, to avoid pitfalls and errors, you need the service of a good draftsman. This may be a solicitor, will drafting service, bank or even you with the help of a DIY kit. An erroneous will may be challenged and become invalid.

2. Choose an executor
An Executor is one who administers your estate upon your death in accordance with your instruction. The executor of your choice must be willing to carry out the responsibility as his role is demanding in nature.

3. Appoint a default or substitute executor
Most persons prefer appointing their spouse as executors. It is advisable to appoint a substitute executor as a sole executor in addition to your spouse. This is to avoid the danger of your estate being without an executor should in case you and your spouse die together in a plane crash or car accident. Always appoint a default or substitute executor as a fall-back position in case your spouse is unwilling or unable to act.

4. Appoint a guardian for your under aged children
If you are the only surviving parent with children under age 18, it is advisable to appoint a guardian for your children. In doing so, your children will be left with someone that you trust can take care of them upon your death.  In a situation where no guardian was appointed in your will, a guardian will be appointed by the court. If you are unmarried but you and your partner have children, you might not even get guardianship of your children. If an unmarried man dies, his female partner automatically gets guardianship of their children, but if an unmarried woman dies, her male partner does not. You should appoint each other as guardians in your wills to overcome this problem.

5. Appoint trustworthy trustees
Appoint someone who you trust can manage your estate pending when your children come of age. Trustees will be responsible for managing and investing money, or looking after property until it passes to the beneficiaries, so make sure they are people with a good grasp of financial matters – and that they are still young enough so they don’t die before you do.

6. Make specific legacies
Items of significant value can be preserved by specifically naming/describing them and the beneficiary in your will. You should leave these items as a specific legacy to a named beneficiary.

7.  Leave a residual legacy
The ‘residue’ is what is left over in your estate after you have made any specific legacies. You must specify who this goes to, as if you fail to do so, you will create a partial intestacy in your will. In other words, the small gifts and legacies would pass according to the will, but the residue would be subject to the laws of intestacy.

8. Save tax with a trust
The inclusion of a discretionary trust in your will could help in saving up for the payment of tax.

9. Append your signature
An unsigned will is invalid. Hence a will must be signed in the presence of two independent witnesses who are not beneficiaries to the will for it to be valid.

10. Get it stored safely
A valid will should be kept safely in a storage facility to protect it from fire, flood, damage, theft or loss. A certificate will be made available to your Executors for accessibility to your will upon your death.


Please call us on 0207 183 0084 or email us on property@olaleslie.com  if you want to draft your will or  need advise on drafting a will and to ask us about any reservations or queries that you may have; we are always happy to assist.