18 May 2018 by

DIY Will – What can go wrong if you don’t use a solicitor?

Creating a valid Will is one of the most important things you will ever do to ensure your family and loved ones are provided for once you are gone.

With something this important the advice must be to get professional and qualified help, after all you wouldn’t ask a passer-by to carry out a root canal filling – you would ask a dentist!

We quite often help clients sort through the mess they are left to deal with when so called “DIY Wills” go wrong.  We therefore know better than most the importance of getting it right first time.  Below is a list of some of the reasons why you should trust the drafting of this important document to a qualified professional and not opt to do it yourself or use an unqualified Will writing service found on the internet:

You need to have confidence that your will is valid.

It needs to comply with certain formalities, for example:

  • Simply not witnessing a Will properly may result in it being invalid;
  • If any amendments to your Will are not undertaken correctly (e.g. initialed where necessary and by all required parties), they will not be considered as valid. Therefore, if you decided to reduce/increase a legacy or add/remove a beneficiary/executor, the changes might not take place;
  • The Probate Registry (who need to approve the Will) might not accept a Will as valid if it has been stapled/un-stapled more than once;

You need to be certain that your Will takes care of all your assets, beneficiaries and minimises tax

  • Most online Will services do not offer advice on assets abroad;
  • DIY Wills do not provide tailored advice in relation to how you should deal with your business;
  • Homemade Will services do not advise on how you can effectively provide for vulnerable beneficiaries, for example a relative who lacks mental capacity;
  • Online Will services might not advise you correctly on the inheritance tax implications in your specific circumstances;

The consequences of getting it wrong are not worth the risk of  saving a few ££s

  • If your Will is found to be invalid, beneficiaries that you did not want to benefit from your estate might inherit under the intestacy rules;
  • An invalid Will might result in you dying intestate or a previous outdated Will might be considered as valid instead. This would certainly leave your family in a more stressful situation, especially if the earlier Will did not provide for children or other beneficiaries that were not born at the time;
  • When Wills are not done correctly, the financial and emotional cost of dealing with the consequences can be huge: your family may end up inheriting less and spending more on solicitors’ fees;
  • Homemade Wills may not provide for change of circumstances (e.g. marriage, divorce or if a beneficiary/executor passes away shortly after you) and sometimes even if they do offer such standard clauses, they do not explain in which situations you can use and rely on these. Therefore, you risk the clauses being held void;
  • If you are not married and your Will is not valid, your partner will not inherit anything from your estate;

For more information on how to ensure the validity of your Will, including if you would like to set one up, please contact us on 0207 288 4700

To find out the perils of DIY Lasting Powers of Attorney please click here

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