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Product ID: UK-CSMwil28

Suitable for use in: England & Wales

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Product ID: UK-CSMwil31

Suitable for use in: England & Wales

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Why you should make a will

You should consider making a will regardless of whether you are young or old, if you have a family to look after, or if you own a property or other valuable assets.

If you don’t have one then your money and possessions might not be distributed in the way you intend. Making a will gives you peace of mind and confidence that:

  • children under 18 will be looked after, emotionally and financially
  • family disputes over your estate will be avoided
  • the people you trust to sort out your affairs after your death are able to do so
  • that your money and possessions will benefit the people you want, even when there are complicated situations such as poor health, divorce and financial problems.

Our comprehensive service

Net Lawman provides both templates that you can download and edit on your computer, and a quick online service where you tell us your wishes using in our questionnaire, and our software writes your will immediately for you.

If you would like peace of mind that your wishes will be carried out as you intend, we can arrange for a will writer to review your will.

What our wills cover

Our wills include the following provisions, as far as each is needed:

Appointment of executors

We allow you to nominate alternative executors if your first choices are unable or unwilling to take up the position.

Appointment of Guardians for your children under 18 years

For detailed information about choosing guardians, we recommend that you read our article on providing for children, which can be found here.

Gifts of money and possessions (legacies and bequests) to individuals

You can make as many gifts to individuals as you like, whether of money or possessions.

When you give specific gifts, they are deemed to be free of inheritance tax. That means if tax is due on your estate, it is paid using the money and assets that you have not already given away (your “residual estate”). So you need to make sure that you do not accidentally deprive those closest to you by making too large gifts to less important people.

If you make a gift of real property, such as your house or a piece of land, you should make sure that you own it outright, or as a ‘tenant in common’. If you own the property with someone else as a ‘joint tenant’, then the property will automatically pass to the co-owners. You can read more about this here.

Gifts to charities

In law, a charity is simply another person. So just as you can leave a gift of money to a family relative, you can leave a gift to a charity if you would like to do so.

Options for giving gifts to children

If a beneficiary is under 18 when you die, then the law automatically places his or her gift in trust until he or she reaches 18. For small gifts, especially to minors who are not your own children, you may want to avoid the administrative burden that managing a trust would place on your executors, and give the gift to the parents instead, either to keep on behalf of the child, or to use as they choose (for the child).

Options for leaving the residual estate

In most templates, you can choose to leave everything to one person or to a group of people, or you can chose to leave specific shares to specific individuals.

We also include a gift-over provision allowing you to nominate alternative beneficiaries for the gift of the residual estate.

Payment to executors

The law says that an executor may not accept payment for his work unless the will expressly authorises it. But if you want a professional executor, he will usually act only if he is paid for his time. So we always provide a simple sentence authorising payment to executors.

It would be most unusual for a family member acting as an executor to demand payment for his time, but he could reasonably ask for repayment of expenses.

Directions for valuation of your estate

After your death, it is unlikely that those closest to you will be thinking hard about the cost of winding up your estate. However, they may require professional valuations of certain assets to satisfy HMRC. The professionals who provide these valuations generally charge far more than they would dare to charge you, if you were alive. In all but the simplest wills we provide an instruction by you to stop this happening.

Funeral wishes

Strictly, you do not legally own your own dead body and, therefore, cannot specify what should happen to it. However, if you make your funeral wishes clear in your will, it is most likely that your executors and relatives will carry out them out.

An example letter of intent

A letter of intent is a “side letter” that is not part of your will and not binding. However, executors, whoever they are, tend to follow the instructions you give in it. A letter of intent gives you an opportunity to cover business arrangements and personal matters in depth. It is not registered, unlike your will is, so no-one except your executors need ever know its contents.

Trust provisions

You can create a trust on purpose or by operation of law such as when you leave a gift to someone under 18 years old. Trusts are a complicated concept, which we explain here.

We use our own trust provisions adapted from the Standard Provisions of the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners (STEP).

Our provisions give you maximum flexibility and control of how any trust is managed, freeing the trustees from some of the bonds of the Trustee Act 2001 that are unsuitable for a trust managed within your family.

Life interests

Trusts that create life interests are used to control ownership of the assets you place into the trusts. The beneficiaries may use the assets during their lifetimes (or subject to other conditions) after which the trusts are dissolved and ownership of the assets passes to other people you choose.

The most common use is to provide security for a partner or second wife or husband during her or his lifetime, but for the assets eventually to pass to children, some of whom might be from earlier marriages and who otherwise might be accidentally disinherited if the estate passed to your second wife.

Use of an inheritance tax nil rate band discretionary trust

Inheritance tax is payable only on the value of your estate above a certain amount. This amount is called the threshold or the nil rate band.

There used to be tax advantages to using a discretionary trust and placing assets valued up to the value of the nil rate band into it. Those tax advantages are no longer so advantageous, but using a discretionary trust can protect your estate from claims by creditors or in divorce settlements or if your husband or wife remarries.

Using Net Lawman templates

Easy to understand and edit

Like all our documents, our wills are written in plain English. This not only makes editing easy, but also makes it more certain that your wishes will be understood and followed.

Where absolutely necessary, we use words that have a particular meaning in law, but generally we avoid using jargon. Complicated and unusual words may make the document sound more impressive but they do not add to the legality of the document.

We follow normal, modern legal convention of using the masculine form of a word regardless of the gender of the person. The documents are equally as suitable for women as for men.

Edit in your favourite word processor

All our documents are in Microsoft Word format, which is compatible with many other word processors including Mac Pages, LibreOffice and WordPerfect. We can provide copies in other formats on request.

Our guidance notes help you create a perfect document

Guidance notes are provided with each template. These explain how to edit the document and provide extensive information about why we include each paragraph and the decisions you might need to make.

Making your will legally binding

Once you have finished editing the document, you need to print, date and sign your will to make it legally binding. We explain exactly how to do that in the guidance notes that we provide with the template, and also on this page.

You do not need a solicitor or will writer to review or to approve your will for it to be legally binding. The document becomes legally binding as a result of the process of signing it, not because of any involvement of a solicitor.

When to write or rewrite your will

You can write a will at any time in your life. Most people consider a new will when their financial circumstances change, or when relationships change. The Law Society advise that you review you will every five years, and that you make a new will after a major life change such as having a child, marriage, separation or divorce.

It is possible to change a will without making a new one, but a new one is usually the preferable option.

Why we provide some templates for free

Our motivations for providing free will templates are both ethical and commercial.

A will is an important legal document, and we believe that everyone should make one. Because the law sets out how your estate will be divided if you don't have a will, without one, the people you care about are less likely to receive specific gifts (whether of financial or sentimental value) that you want to pass on to them.

The reason why most people don't write a will is the financial cost of doing so. We want to remove that barrier. Our free templates are most suitable for less complicated estates that are valued below the inheritance tax nil rate band (when no tax would be paid). One of the Net Lawman free will templates should be suitable, we estimate, for about 60% of the UK population.

Our commercial motivation is simply that once you have used a Net Lawman will, we hope that you will be more likely to return to us for legal documents for other aspects of your personal or business life. Providing a complete, commonly used, free template that is based on our more complex paid versions is a great way for our visitors to assess the quality of our documents.

Note that our free templates do not contain provisions that seek to minimise inheritance tax. If this is important to you, you should look at the other Net Lawman last will and testament templates, a number of which cover basic IHT planning (largely as illustrated by HM Revenue and Customs). If the value of your estate could exceed the nil rate band (£325,000 for an individual in 2015/16), then we suggest that you seek advice from a qualified tax specialist before signing your will.

Why choose Net Lawman

Immediate delivery of the document template by e-mail after checkout
DocX file format compatible with all popular PC & Mac word processing software. We can convert into other formats for you
Use of plain English makes our documents easy to edit and understand
Detailed guidance notes explain the purpose of each paragraph and how to edit
Review service available - a Net Lawman lawyer can check your edited document
Full money back guarantee if the document isn't right for you
Our bespoke will writing service
Answer simple questions in our web-based questionnaire
We create a document tailored to your requirements
Our detailed lawyer review process ensures that your document matches your instructions
We e-mail your document to you
Get Started
Price: FREE
Suitable for use in: England & Wales and Scotland

When you use our online will writing service, our software creates your will for you, based on the answers you give in our questionnaire.

The questionnaire takes about 15 minutes to complete.

We save your answers every time you move to a new page, so if you want to take a break at any point, you can return later without having to start from the beginning.

When you have completed the questionnaire, you can choose for your will to be e-mailed to you immediately in Microsoft Word format (compatible with many different word processors), or you can arrange for an experienced will writer to review your document so that you have confidence that it is legally sound and that your wishes will be followed.

If you choose our review service, we aim to check your will and return it to you within 72 hours.

You print your will and sign it in front of your witnesses to make it legally binding.

Creating your will using our software is free, but there is a cost for the optional review service.

What your last will and testament can cover

In our questionnaire, you can tell us about:

  • who you would like to appoint as executors to carry out your wishes
  • who you would like to appoint as guardians of your children
  • whether you would like to leave specific gifts of money and possessions to individuals
  • who should inherit the remainder of what you own and in what shares
  • whether you would like to allow someone such as your spouse to live in your house during his or her lifetime, but afterwards have someone else inherit the property and its contents
  • how trusts created to hold money and possessions left to your young children until they reach adulthood should be managed
  • your funeral wishes
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