It may be tempting to save money and make your own Will, but you have to bear in mind the risk that something could go wrong and your Will is found to be null and void.
This would then mean that your estate would pass through the intestacy rules meaning distant relatives could receive a proportion of your estate.
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Homemade Wills – Overview
There are several ways of creating a Will; the two most common are to instruct solicitors to make your Will or alternatively to make a home made Will yourself, using a DIY Will kit from the shops or by downloading a Will from the internet.
Perhaps the most important point to consider when choosing a method of Will writing is how sure can you be that your Will will be legally valid, correct and effective when you die. In essence, if you make a DIY home made Will then can you be absolutely 100% sure that will your assets be passed onto the people you choose?
It is a regular occurrence that incorrectly drawn up DIY homemade Wills are found to be invalid and disregarded, and ineffective. We as solicitors see this regularly and it is very sad when people make homemade wills thinking that they have saved a few pounds only for their relatives to find that they have lost out and or that it costs hundreds if not thousands of pounds to sort out the mess that homemade DIY Wills can sometimes leave.
It is of course cheaper to pick up a ‘Will pack’ from a local stationary shop or your post office and use the pack to write your own Will. It might be alright to do this if you want to make a really straightforward simple Will, where you are single and do not own property and have very limited assets and there are no beneficiaries under 18 years of age.
However, even then, the slightest error or misunderstanding can cause disputes or the Will to be invalid. You may think that your homemade Will is clear, but you will not be there to clarify any misunderstanding or dispute between family members when the time comes. You also have to be very careful not to make any mistakes at all as even a simple error can lead to the Will becoming invalid.
Some of the main mistakes include the incorrect method of signing the Will, choosing the wrong witnesses to sign the Will, leaving dependents out of the Will or amending a Will incorrectly as this can be seen as tampering.
It may not come as a shock, but anyone (and we mean anyone) can set up as a Will writer and charge money for the service. There is no industry-wide regulation for Will writers and many have only attended a training course for a few hours before labelling themselves as experts.
In fact, the Law Society has called for regulation to be introduced and enforced because of the varying nature of the training and expertise. The difficulty is that many Will writers only have a basic understanding of Wills and cannot advise, or even understand, the complexities of tax planning or trusts.
The main reason people are attracted to Will writers is that they advertise at a low price. This is an indicator of the level of expertise on offer. If you see a cheap advertisement for say Wills for £20, then think about the reality of a trained and fully qualified legal expert carrying out a complex legal task for such a low cost.
You also need to be careful with Will writers. Many advertise a low cost then add in extras. For example some charge an annual fee for “storage” of the will. In our opinion, storage charges are disgraceful and are a rip-off. Many solicitors including ourselves offer free storage. Also, some Will writers will also charge a lot of money for other extras that you can often get better value from solicitors.
There are also the mistakes that we find some Will writers make as well. Like making DIY homemade Wills then do you want to take the risk of ending up with a Will that is invalid or is going to cost hundreds or thousands of pounds of legal fees to put right?
Why Use A Solicitor?
Creating a Will is one of those important things you need to do in life. If you attempt it yourself or use a Will writer it could have major implications for your family when you are gone. All solicitors have professional qualifications and are closely supervised by the Solicitors Regulation Authority.
All solicitors including ourselves have years of experience and expertise in making Wills and have to be fully insured and offer a broad range of legal knowledge across other related areas such as property and tax planning. Don’t leave it to chance. Make a Will and have peace of mind that it is right the first time.