Making a Will

You may not want to think about what will happen after you die and the thought of putting it down in writing can be upsetting.  

However, writing a will allows you to set out what you want to happen after you die. It ensures that your wishes are set out clearly and you can choose who you want to deal with things on your behalf. By not planning for the future, you could be leaving your family with extra work at what is already an emotionally charged time.  

What is a Will?

A will is a legal document setting out how your assets will be managed following your death. 

It is important to write a will if you have a family member with reduced capacity or some other type of disability. You will need to consider what provision you want to make for the person you care for, in addition to other people you may wish to provide for.  

If your intended beneficiaries are vulnerable or disabled, you may need to consider creating a trust in the will, to ensure assets can be appropriately managed. 

What is a trust?

A trust is the formal transfer of your assets to trustees for the benefit of others. A trust is a way of looking after assets (money, investments, land or buildings) for people. It is a legal arrangement where one or more ‘trustees’ are made legally responsible for holding these assets, managing the trust and carrying out the wishes of the person who has put the assets into trust. A trust can be set up in your lifetime or in your will and is one of the best ways to make financial provision for a person whose main income is state benefits. 

If you set up a trust with a solicitor it will become active when the last remaining parent dies. It can encompass not only your son or daughter with a learning disability, but their other siblings too if you wish. You will have to appoint trustees while you are still alive to administer the trust when you are deceased. It is best to choose people who are a generation younger than you, so that they will be around for a long time to support your relative. 

How do I make a will or trust for the person I care for?

Seek advice from a solicitor as this can be complex, however if you are just assisting someone, you may be able to: 

  • write one yourself – you can buy templates in stationery shops or online. 
  • use a will-writing service. Will-writing services can be cheaper than solicitors, but unlike solicitors they aren’t necessarily legally qualified.  
  • If your will is complex, it might be best for a solicitor to complete this. 
  • If the person is not able to understand what making a will means, they are unaware of how much money they have or what property they own or they have lost the mental capacity to manage their finances, you may need to apply to the Court of Protection [https://www.gov.uk/apply-statutory-will/how-to-apply] in order to make a will on their behalf.