Do it yourself. Ah, that great money-saving trick. It could be a triumph or an unmitigated disaster but you’re prepared to take a gamble. You want to repaint your front room? Fine – if you’re a dab hand with a brush, you’ll do a tidy job. Washing the car? Go for it, the forecourt machines never get your alloys spotless anyway. But writing your own will, complete with all the necessary legal safeguards? Please, please approach with caution.
You know you need to get around to writing your Will – you’re not getting any younger and, frankly, you’ve been putting it off for years. After a quick call to your local solicitors they tell you it’ll cost you anything between £150 to £300 and beyond to take your Will in struction.
Worried about parting with your hard-earned cash, you look online and think to yourself, ’why can’t I write my own and save myself some money?’ Sure, there are companies out there offering the service, but it’s a bit like buying a chainsaw and tackling a tree without looking at the operating instuctions – it’s fraught with danger and we really wouldn’t advise it!
Writing a Will properly can be a thought-provoking and emotive subject. You have family to think about and want to do the best by them, naturally. Getting it wrong can be a complex and costly one for your loved ones, sometimes running into thousands of pounds to put right. And no one wants that.
Here, we look at some of the main pitfalls of creating a DIY Will and why you should think twice before writing one
Not Properly Witnessed
This is the most common mistake of all. If you’ve spent the time and effort to ensure your possessions are going to your loved ones, you wouldn’t want it all to be in vain because you failed to have your DIY Will correctly signed, dated and witnessed. Any mistakes here would render the Will invalid – something you can’t afford to take a chance with.
Using the wrong wording
Although many people don’t like legal jargon that comes with a Will, it’s there for good reason. By not using the correct legal terminology in your Will, your instructions may not be followed accurately, as they may not be legally binding
Foreign Properties or bank accounts
Thinking of a holiday home abroad? Sadly, self-written Wills will not be recognised overseas. If you own a foreign property or have money invested offshore, you either need a Will drawn up in that country or a correctly drafted UK Will detailing your foreign assets
Inheritance Tax Advice is vital
Inheritance Tax (IHT) is a tax on the estate of someone who has died, including all property, possessions and money. If you have issues arising from this, you need specialist advice that won’t be readily available if you go solo
Family members living in your home
Little Jonny isn’t so little any more, and he’s still living at home with mum and dad on his 40th Whether it’s Jonny, an elderly relative or family member living at your home who are not due to inherit – but are reliant on you to keep a roof over their head – then you need a professionally- drafted Will. At Wills and Legal Services, our experts will advise you how to protect those people.
The financially dependent
You may be divorced, part of a blended family or have ex-partners who rely on you financially. It’s difficult to make provision for the financially dependent in a DIY Will as this type of provision normally needs to be written into some type of Trust – which is most likely to be something more complex than a DIY Will would provide
It’s a sad fact of life but sadly, families argue, fall out or lose touch. If you disinherit a family member, they may well claim against your estate after your death. This is where we come in. Unless you have taken specialist advice and followed the correct legal process, there is every chance a family member would win their claim and may well end up with a large chunk of your estate.
So, what should I do instead?
Making a Will with all the correct legal advice and protocol is much simpler and more affordable than you might think. Our friendly, trusted Paralegals guide you through the short process to ensure that your wishes are recorded exactly as you would like them. We visit you in the comfort of your own home and offer unbiased, confidential advice. You’ll have the peace of mind that everything has been done correctly and, more importantly, your will is a legally sound document that protects you and your family.
If you would like to speak to a member of our team or make an appointment for a free, non-obligation Wills consultation with one of our national paralegals, please contact us on 01885 490380 or click here.