The dangers of ‘Do It Yourself’ Wills

The dangers of ‘Do It Yourself’ Wills

You could of course write your own Will. In fact, high street stationery shops will even sell you a kit to enable you to do so. Whilst the low cost of these DIY Will kits may seem very appealing at first, the £10 you spend writing one now could in fact cost you a lot more down the line for example if and when changes need to be made. The Will may cost your family even more when they come to apply for a grant of probate after you have passed away and the application fails! This can be very stressful and expensive for those that you leave behind. During a time when they should be in mourning having to deal with your estate using a Will which is incorrect, or worse invalid, will be that last thing you would want for them.

If your wishes are quite simple, for example you’re married and you wish to leave everything to your spouse or children, then a DIY Will may well be a viable option providing it is properly signed and witnessed.

When things start to get a bit more complex, for example if you’re not married or you own a business or property, perhaps have assets overseas or have a potential tax liability then it would be sensible to seek out professional advice to avoid any potentially expensive mistakes.

The most common issue with a DIY Will is when it comes to witnessing the document. For a Will to be valid it must be signed by the person making the Will (the testator) and two independent adults. Neither of these witnesses can be beneficiaries under the Will or the spouses or civil partners of any of the beneficiaries. If the Will is not signed correctly it will be invalid, meaning your estate will pass in accordance with the laws of intestacy (as though you had not made a Will at all). This will lead to your estate not being distributed as you would have wished.

To avoid these pitfalls it is advised that you use a professional Will Writer to not only draft the document for you, but to also ensure it is signed and witnessed correctly avoiding any difficulties after your death.

We provide a free, no obligation, initial consultation in the comfort of your home. Please contact us for more information.

Based on an article published by the Society of Will Writers.

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