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Reasons to avoid “do-it-yourself” Wills

Monday, 6 July 2015

clip_image002It can be difficult planning for your loved ones after your passing but it is important that you try and minimise the stress and emotional impact the proceeding events can have.

Producing a valid Will of your own making is difficult and can be a risky choice. If any elements of the Will are written incorrectly or the Will is somehow invalid, your loved ones will be left to deal with the aftermath which could be a potentially complicated situation that leads to your final wishes not being followed as you would have liked.

Invalid DIY Wills

One of the most common mistakes found in DIY Wills is when it has been signed and witnessed incorrectly rendering the Will invalid. Similarly, you could be so focused on dividing up your money, property and possessions that you forget to specify important decisions over who should become the guardian(s) of your children after your passing, should both parents die. Further to this, the wording has to be very specific in order to achieve clarity over your wishes. Wording errors that seem minor to you could render your Will invalid and cause all sorts of issues for your loved ones when your estate is divided up.

If your DIY Will is found to be invalid your estate will be divided up using the Laws of Intestacy. This can be a frustrating situation for family members because the outcome of this process is likely to be different from your invalid final wishes which can lead to family feuds during an already traumatic time. Additionally, an invalid Will might instigate people to legally challenge your estate which could lead to considerable legal fees for your beneficiaries, a reduced amount of inheritance and your final wishes not being followed.

A drawn out process

As discussed in our previous article reasons to avoid “DIY” probate leaving a loved one to handle the distribution of your estate will more than likely cause them a lot of stress, it could also prolong the process and there is a greater chance of mistakes being made. This is because there will be a significant amount of paperwork involved which requires an in depth knowledge of the law. By instructing a solicitor to distribute your estate you will benefit from their experience and knowledge of the law while avoiding passing on a stressful process to a loved one.

Inflation is another area that is often overlooked in DIY wills. Inflation could mean your estate is valued at a higher or lower amount than you initially calculated, or you might have spent more money since your will was written than you had initially anticipated. The risk is that these scenarios may influence the value of the gifts you are leaving your beneficiaries. Some may end up with the amount you specified but those you planned to leave the most of your estate too are often left with less money than you had hoped for.

Other complications can arise if your Will is deemed invalid and you are not married to your partner. In this case your partner will not receive anything from your estate leading them to take legal action to secure what they might be entitled too. More complex scenarios can occur if you are married and have dependents from a previous relationship, if you share ownership of a property or share part of a business.

All of these situations can be difficult to clarify in a DIY Will and it is advisable that you instruct a solicitor to write your Will to avoid any complications surrounding your Will and reduce the stress for the loved ones you leave behind.

Rollingsons are respected Will drafting lawyers with the skills and experience required to manage the complicated process of writing and executing Wills. For more information or to arrange an initial consultation, please contact us on 0207 7611 4848.

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