Drafting a will is a crucial step in managing your estate and ensuring that your wishes are honoured after your passing. It’s not merely a document but a testament to your life’s work and the legacy you wish to leave behind. This blog outlines the essential components that should be included in a will, ensuring clarity and reducing the likelihood of disputes among beneficiaries. Remember, the requirements for a valid will can vary, so it’s advisable to consult with a legal professional like us here at The Will Centre to tailor it to your specific needs. 


8 Essentials a Will Must Include


1. Introduction and Declaration of Will

Your will should start with a declaration stating that the document is your last will and revokes any previous wills or codicils. This section should include your full name and address; optionally it could include your date of birth and a statement of your capacity to make a will.

2. Appointment of Executor(s)

An executor is someone you trust to carry out the instructions in your will. Specify one or more individuals or a professional body, like a lawyer, accountant or a bank, to act as your executor(s). It’s also wise to appoint substitute executors in case your first choice is unable or unwilling to act.  If a professional is appointed then be aware they will charge at the time for the work they carry out; you may want to enquire what these charges are in advance of appointing them. 

3. Guardianship of Minor Children

If you have children under 18, it’s crucial to appoint guardians in your will. This ensures that you have a say in who will take care of your children if both parents pass away before the children reach adulthood.

4. Detailed Beneficiary Information

Clearly identify all beneficiaries by their full names, addresses and their relationship to you. Detail who gets what, whether it’s specific items, sums of money, or percentages of your estate. For charitable donations, include the charity’s registered name and address.

5. Specific Legacies and Bequests

If you wish to leave specific assets, such as property, jewellery, or family heirlooms, to certain individuals or organisations, detail these legacies explicitly to avoid ambiguity or disputes.

6. Distribution of the Assets

After funeral expenses, debts, taxes, other expenses, and specific bequests have been accounted for, specify how the remainder of your estate (the residue) should be distributed. This could be to individuals, charities, or a trust.

7. Funeral Wishes

While not legally binding, including your funeral wishes can help your loved ones know your preferences regarding burial, cremation, and the type of ceremony you desire.

8. Signatures and Witnesses

For a will to be valid, it must be signed in the presence of two witnesses, who must also sign the document in your presence. The witnesses cannot be beneficiaries of the will or the spouse of a beneficiary.


A well-drafted will is the foundation of effective estate planning. It provides peace of mind, knowing that your wishes will be respected and that your loved ones are taken care of according to your intentions. It’s strongly recommended to seek the advice of a solicitor specialising in wills and estate planning to ensure your will is legally sound and fully reflects your wishes.

However it is key to remember, life’s circumstances change, and so should your will. Review and update it regularly, especially after significant life events such as marriage, divorce, the birth of a child, or the acquisition of substantial assets. Ensuring your will is up-to-date is as important as having one in the first place.