It’s natural to be tempted by the idea of a DIY Will. Whether it’s an online template or an over-the-counter kit, or just a Word document you’ve typed out yourself, a DIY Will can seem quick and easy – but are they really worth the risk? A Will could be the most valuable document you own and getting it right would be more important than you think. Let’s take a look at the world of homemade Wills.
Creating A Valid Will
First of all, yes, it’s perfectly possible and entirely legal – in principle – for you to draft your own Will without recourse to a solicitor or Will writing specialist. However, it’s important to realise that writing a Will can be a complicated process. Even if your Will seems like it’s going to be very simple – for example, you plan to leave everything to your spouse or you don’t have many assets or debts – it is still a legal document, with certain requirements.
Wording is essential. We’ve all heard jokes about “legalese”, but this is one time when it really matters. If your Will is in any way ambiguous, then it can be left open to interpretation – and could possibly be declared invalid. Unless you’re very familiar with the ins and outs of writing legal documents, this is a very common pitfall.
The legality of a Will depends on more than just the wording, too. The signing of a Will must be witnessed by two independent parties. Relatives, or anyone else who is named in the Will, cannot take on this role. What’s more, your Will must be stored correctly. Even staples or paperclips added to it after signing can be enough to invalidate it. It’s also surprisingly easy to lose a Will, especially if you move house or redecorate.
The Tricky World Of The Law
Apart from the simple reason of ensuring your Will is valid, you can benefit in other ways from working with professionals to make your Will. The law can be extremely confusing if you’re not an expert. You may not have a clear idea about how inheritance tax, or other legal matters, work. Your simple Will may be leaving things open to contestation, or you may be inadvertently creating a situation in which your children do not get what you want, or you pay more tax than necessary.
Additionally, not everything can be gifted in a Will, such as anything held in trust for you (e.g. your pension) or joint assets which pass automatically to the joint owner, regardless of what your Will says.
Working with experts ensures that your Will can be written with an eye on potential legal problems. Beyond that, though, professionals have experience and can identify issues that – while not legally problematic – may cause conflict. For example, we can help talk you through the choice of executors, or discuss what to do in a complex family situation.
Why Does It Matter?
Why are you making a Will in the first place? The answer is usually straightforward: you want peace of mind, and the assurance that your family and loved ones will benefit from what you leave behind, and won’t have additional problems after you’ve gone.
A DIY Will can inadvertently create more issues for your loved ones than solutions, giving them even more stress and difficulty at a time of bereavement. Avoid this by speaking with a professional Will writing specialist, such as one of our team at Cornerstone Wills. When your Will is drafted by and stored with a team of experts, you’ll be able to relax and enjoy much greater peace of mind – and it will actually save time and expense in the long term compared with trying to write it yourself.
Contact Cornerstone Wills for more help and guidance on the matter today.
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