DIY Will… What could possibly go wrong?
Writing your Will is a piece of cake right? It’s so easy you can do it yourself. Quick trip to WH Smiths for a DIY Will pack – what am I saying… these days you don’t even have to leave the comfort of your own home. Hop onto Google, quick search of ‘online Will maker’ enter your details and get your Will emailed to you before the kettle’s even boiled. Actually, in theory you don’t even need a template you could just jot your wishes down on a scrap of paper – the ultimate DIY Will – AND providing that it has been witnessed correctly it will be legally binding.
While a DIY Will is a cheaper option – free even – as the saying goes…. You get what you pay for. Which in the case of a DIY Will could be a whole lot of (expensive) trouble for your beneficiaries.
Why write a Will at all?
Dying intestate – without a Will means that your hard earned assets will be distributed in accordance with the Governments prescribed law of intestacy. This rules do not bend for anyone and means that your estate probably won’t be distributed how you would wish it to be – read more here.
When a DIY Will may be appropriate
You can do a DIY Will if your estate doesn’t hold much value and your wishes are VERY simple ie you’re leaving everything to your Spouse or Children. But this doesn’t account for, or provide any protection for step children, unmarried partners or things that may happen to your beneficiaries or your assets after you’ve died.
When a DIY Will is NOT a good idea…
Well… In any situation other than the above! Modern life is complex. We have more money tied up in property than ever before, we are living much longer with many of us spending around 2.5 years in a nursing home, the family group is no longer ‘traditional…. we could go on but the bottom line is that a DIY Will can be ineffective at protecting your assets or your beneficiaries against significant risk.
It’s best not to use a DIY Will if you want to;
- Reduce Inheritance Tax liabilities
- Pass on a business in your Will
- Deal with any foreign property, investments or bank accounts
- Protect and provide for dependents who are not members of your immediate family – including step children
- Include any slightly complex wishes or anything that could be open to interpretation
- Protect your share of any jointly owned assets with a trust
DIY Wills… what could possibly go wrong?
A Will is a legal document and as such any mistakes, no matter how small, could have serious and far reaching implications for your beneficiaries. In effective DIY Wills are reportedly to blame for prolonged probate for 38,000 families* every year – not an ordeal anyone wants to be subjected to. Your family could be left with a huge financial mess to deal and your estate value could be significantly reduced with unnecessary legal bills or tax payments.
Not witnessed correctly
Witnessing rules are very strict if it has not been witnessed by two independent adults at the same time — neither of whom can be a beneficiary – the Will is invalid and you have died intestate.
Gifts failing due to uncertainty of wording
Wills are written in a specific way for a reason. If you wishes are vague, open to interpretation or just poorly written it may not deliver the outcome your desire. Your family could also dispute the contents of your Will for this reason leading to nasty, expensive and drawn out court case. Not ideal for a grieving family.
Not meeting Probate Office standards
If your DIY Will does not meet the stringent standards of the Probate Office it will be set aside and you will have died intestate.
Expensive to administer
Costs to deal with the estate with a poorly drafted DIY Will can easily escalate to in excess of 10% of the estate value.
Amendments rendering the Will invalid
You can’t just go changing a Will willy nilly (pardon the pun). If an amendment is not made in the correct way – a codicil (testamentary document) has to be created and initialed by you and a witness – and amendments are made, guess what…. It’s INVALID and you have died intestate.
Your Will is the most important document that you will write.
It sets out how you want your assets to be distributed and allows you to safeguard the future everything and everyone that is precious to you. That’s far too important to leave to chance. In order have total peace of mind that your Will will deliver the result that you want it to is to have it professionally drafted. Many people think that this is going to be an expensive and drawn out process but that could not be further from the truth. Over the last 10 years we’ve worked hard to make writing your Will as easy, simple and cost effective as possible. We’ve got the whole process down to taking just 90 minutes and you won’t need to provide any paperwork. Standard Wills are just £125 (inclusive of VAT ) – and unlike many companies a mirror version included at no extra cost. Contact us today on 01322 664885 or firstname.lastname@example.org to arrange your free no obligation telephone consultation.
*Figures from Co-Op Legal Services