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How not to write your will

Updated 01 December 2022

3min read

Nick Green
Financial Journalist


To help you set your own affairs in order, here’s an example of the most common type of will currently made by the majority of adults in the UK… None at all! Article by Nick Green

I, Dylan Dally, being of sound but absent mind, do hereby forget to make my last will and testament. I revoke, annul and cancel all previous appointments I made to see a solicitor about this, as the football was on.

I am happy for my wordly goods to be shared out regardless of my wishes, according to a law made in 1925. I am also willing to let my family pay the full whack of inheritance tax as a result.

I don’t mind that my clever friend Gavin, who would have made a brilliant executor, will now have to sit twiddling his thumbs while all this goes on.

Because I have appointed no executor, my next of kin will end up being responsible for my estate. This happens to be my sister, who is into crystals, but never mind. At least it will also cost a lot more this way, and take up much more of her time.

I wish my live-in girlfriend to inherit my share of the house, and this is a real shame as now she won’t get a penny. She will almost certainly have to sell our home and move out, and this will be doubly difficult as she doesn’t own half of it. I’d also like her to be the legal guardian of my two teenage children, rather than see them being sent into the care of social services – or my sister! – while the Court mulls over what to do with them. (Wish I’d agreed to that wedding now.)

I understand that my children would have inherited so much more, and the tax man so much less, if I had set out detailed provisions in my will, and that they would have been able to stay on in the family home. I also admit that because of the delay in gaining access to my estate, my surviving family will have to pay for my funeral out of their own pockets.

I regret that the charity I’ve supported all my life will not now receive ten per cent of my estate, free of inheritance tax, and that my inheritance tax band won’t be reduced to 36 per cent instead of 40 as a result. Apologies too to all my friends and wider family. Hope you’re not cross.

I declare that… No, hang on, I’ve just remembered, I do have a will filed away somewhere. What a relief! I made it years ago, naming my girlfriend as my sole beneficiary. Oh, but wait… that was a different girlfriend. We haven’t spoken in years. Now she’s going to get everything and my kids will get nothing. I suppose I’ll just have to live with that. Well, not live, but you get the point.

That settles it. I really am going to make a new will. I’ll do it tomorrow, I promise. Right after my cut-price skydiving experience.

Don’t put off making or updating your will. Find a solictor to help you today.

Nick Green is communications manager at Unbiased, the UK's favourite place to find advice you can trust. He has been writing professionally on finance, business and many other topics for over 15 years.

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About the author
Nick Green is a financial journalist writing for Unbiased.co.uk, the site that has helped over 10 million people find financial, business and legal advice. Nick has been writing professionally on money and business topics for over 15 years, and has previously written for leading accountancy firms PKF and BDO.