It’s important that clients understand the benefits of a valid will and the risks of not having one. If the client has no will, then you should recommend they seek professional advice from a solicitor or will writing service. 

To make a valid will, two formalities must be followed: the will must be in writing and be properly executed. 

The minimum age for making a valid will under English law is 18. It should be a clear and unambiguous statement of the deceased’s wishes in respect of their estate and must be signed by the testator in the presence of two witnesses. 

The witnesses must not be beneficiaries of the will or the spouses of beneficiaries. If a beneficiary were to be a witness, they would not be able to inherit under the terms of the will. 

The terms of a will only take effect on the death of the testator. Before then, the testator can revoke or modify the will at any time. Modifications are recorded in a document known as a codicil. In the event of marriage, remarriage or entering into a civil partnership, a will is automatically revoked, unless specifically written in contemplation of the change of status.