1. Instructing a solicitor
2. Information we require
3. Signing
4. Updating
5. Storage


1. Instructing a solicitor

A Will is an important document which must comply with certain legal requirements to ensure it is validly executed. This should dissuade people from attempting to draft one on their own. Will drafting is a very specialised area of law that requires the professional experience of a solicitor to ensure that every avenue is explored and to prevent problems coming to light when it is too late to do anything about them.


2. Information we require

2.1 What you own

Details of your assets, including property, cars, valuable possessions, stocks and shares, bank accounts, insurance policies, businesses, pensions, overseas assets.


2.2 Who gets what

The manner in which you wish to divide your property between loved ones, friends and charities, along with any conditions you wish to attach to such gifts, i.e. age contingencies.


2.3 Family, dependants and other beneficiaries

  • Particulars of your family and marital status.
  • Whether you are divorced, remarried, in a civil partnership or cohabiting.
  • Whether you have any children or other dependants.


2.4 Executors of your Will

It is often prudent to appoint two Executors, possibly a trusted friend or family member and a professional such as your solicitor. Equally important to picking someone you trust is ensuring that your chosen candidate is willing to undertake the duties since, if there are Trusts arising under your Will, they may well involve long-term responsibilities.


2.5 Guardians

If you have any children who could still be under eighteen when you die, you will need to consider who you would like to look after them in the event of your death.


2.6 Other wishes

  • Funeral arrangements, i.e. burial or cremation
  • Organ donorship (although this wish should also be expressed through carrying a donor card)
  • Donation of one’s body for medical research.


3. Signing

It is important to follow the legal rules which apply to signing your Will closely as any mistakes can result in your Will being invalid. In particular, beneficiaries or their spouses or civil partners cannot witness the Will. If they do, the Will as a whole may not be invalid, but any gift to that person in the Will will be invalid.


4. Updating

It is recommended that you review your Will at least every five years to take account of changing circumstances. In particular, if you plan to get married or enter a registered civil partnership, this should become a priority since both of these events have the effect of cancelling a Will that was not made in contemplation of them. If you fail to make a new Will then you will be intestate on your death. As a general, but by no means comprehensive guide, you should review your Will on any of the following events:

  • entering into a marriage, registered civil partnership or cohabitation;
  • birth of children;
  • death of a close relative or beneficiary under your Will;
  • divorce or separation within your family;
  • inheriting a large sum of money;
  • selling a substantial asset, particularly a business or agricultural property;
  • on retirement;
  • to take account of changes in tax legislation.

It is best to deal with major changes by drawing up an entirely new Will, although minor amendments can be dealt with by means of a Codicil, which is executed in the same manner.


5. Storage

You should keep your Will in a safe place and inform your Executor/s or a close friend or relative where it is. We recommend to our clients that they store their original Will in our strong room for safekeeping. If you choose the latter option, we will provide you with a copy for your records. The copy makes it clear that the original Will is stored with us.


These notes are not exhaustive and are meant as a basis for discussion with your legal adviser. If clients wish to discuss any of the above, please contact our Private Client Team 020 8940 4051 who will be pleased to help you

IMPORTANT: this information is intended to be a general statement of the law. No action should be taken in reliance on it without seeking specific legal advice.

Our Private Client team

Dixon Ward | Wills, Powers of Attorney, Probate & Trusts  | Notarial Services | The Team | Gregory White | Our Story

Gregory White

Private Client department
[email protected]

Dixon Ward | Wills, Powers of Attorney, Probate & Trusts | The Team | Abigail Pfister

Abigail Pfister

Private Client department
[email protected]

Dixon Ward | Wills, Powers of Attorney, Probate & Trusts | The Team | Paul Denza

Paul Denza

Private Client department
[email protected]

Dixon Ward | Wills, Powers of Attorney, Probate & Trusts | The Team | Reena Khatri

Reena Khatri

Private Client department
[email protected]

Stephanie Mends

Private Client department
[email protected]

Dixon Ward | Wills, Powers of Attorney, Probate & Trusts | The Team | Sabrina Caldeira

Sabrina Caldeira

Private Client department
[email protected]

Dixon Ward | Wills, Powers of Attorney, Probate & Trusts | The Team | Shaun'Tay Saunders

Shaun’Tay Saunders

Private Client department
[email protected]

Sofia Williams

Private Client department
[email protected]

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Get in touch

Simply fill in the form on the right and we’ll put you in touch with the right person. However, if you would rather email, you can do so at: [email protected]

If you would prefer to speak to someone on the phone, you can reach our team on: 020 8940 4051

You can also visit us at our offices on beautiful Richmond Green:
Dixon Ward, 16 The Green, Richmond, Surrey, TW9 1QD

Our reception is open 09:00 - 17:30, Monday to Friday (excluding Bank Holidays).

Gregory White & Abigail Pfister are the
accredited Lifetime Lawyers at Dixon Ward

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