Living with Dying

Information - Making a Will

There are many practical arrangements that can be made towards the end of life that can help people put their affairs in order. Some people find that as they approach death they want to make sure that there are no legal or financial burdens for the people closest to them.

If someone dies without making a will their property will be divided up under legal rules which do not take account of a person's circumstances. For example, when two people live together but are not married, unless there is a will, the surviving partner will not inherit anything, and the estate (including the house they had jointly lived in) would go to the dead partner's next of kin. 

This situation can cause enormous distress and possibly lengthy (and expensive) legal proceedings, at a time when people are already upset.

Ask the Citizens Advice Bureau for advice, or contact a solicitor. Age UK have a number of forms that can be downloaded (PDF) from their website.

You can find a solicitor by asking a friend for a recommendation or by contacting the Law Society. Get quotes from a few solicitors before deciding which is best for you. Sometimes they will make home visits

Macmillan Cancer Support has a guide to making a will and leaving a lifeline. It helps you prepare as much as possible before going to see a solicitor.

Make sure your spouse/partner/family know where important documents are kept, such as:
  • the deeds of the house 
  • the will 
  • passport 
  • driving licence 
  • birth, marriage and divorce certificates 
  • details of bank or building society accounts 
  • insurance premiums and pension policies 
  • car insurance 
  • tax and national insurance numbers.

You might also want to list the names and phone numbers of various people who would need to be told after the death - executors of the will, bank manager, employer, landlord, solicitor, accountant, and doctor.

Last reviewed July 2017.
Last updated August 2014.


Please use the form below to tell us what you think of the site. We’d love to hear about how we’ve helped you, how we could improve or if you have found something that’s broken on the site. We are a small team but will try to reply as quickly as possible.

Please note that we are unable to accept article submissions or offer medical advice. If you are affected by any of the issues covered on this website and need to talk to someone in confidence, please contact The Samaritans or your Doctor.

Make a Donation to

Find out more about how you can help us.

Send to a friend

Simply fill out this form and we'll send them an email