Who Should Prepare Your Will?
Most would agree that your Will is one of the most important documents you will ever have to prepare. Though it’s not a subject that many people like to consider, death is no respecter of age so it is something that needs to be considered sooner rather than later.
Regardless of whatever route you decide to take, it is important for you to make a will. It is important because if you die without a valid will, it could be difficult for your family to sort out your affairs. Your estate will be shared out according to the rules of intestacy. Under these rules, only married partners, civil partners and certain close relatives can inherit your estate.
If you and your partner are not married or in a civil partnership, your partner won't have the right to inherit – even if you’re living together. It’s important to make a will if you:
- own property or a business
- have children
- have savings, investments or insurance policies
If reading this is enough to convince you that you should organise a Will, you may wonder why you should use a solicitor to advise on and draft the document. After all, you can use budget methods such as DIY packs bought online or in stationery shops. To make a valid Will, you are simply required to state how you want your estate divided and organise two witnesses. It can’t be that hard, right?
Why Should You Use a Solicitor?
Your Will is the one document that has the authority to ensure your wishes are carried out when you’re gone. However, for the document to be indisputable, it must be legally watertight, so it’s essential that you get it right.
Making a will without using a Solicitor can result in mistakes or something not being clear, especially if you have several beneficiaries or your finances are complicated. Your executor will have to sort out any mistakes and might have to pay legal costs. This will reduce the amount of money in your estate. Mistakes in your will could even make it invalid.
Our experienced and highly trained private client solicitors draft Wills regularly and have advised all types of people with different circumstances on the best way to structure their document. This is crucial for protecting the Will from being contested later.
We will advise on the best way to structure your will while considering inheritance tax planning, protection of vulnerable beneficiaries, care fees, etc. Your Will needs to cater for all sorts of eventualities that you might not have thought of. Our team will have the experience to help you clarify your own ideas.
There are strict rules governing how a Will must be signed and witnessed to be valid. It is easy to fall foul of these if you don’t know the rules which could mean that your Will is worthless. Our team will supervise the completion of your Will to ensure this does not happen.
A solicitor will charge a fee for making a will, but they will explain the costs at the start.
Thinking of Using a Will Writer?
The “Will-writing” companies you see advertised are not law firms and the Will Writers may not have any legal training. Some do have training so it’s always best to check, but even if they do, they will not be regulated. In fact, Will-writers are completely unregulated which means they are not accountable to any professional body. Law firms are bound by strict regulations set by the Solicitors Regulation Authority and in the unlikely event that you were not happy with the service provided by your solicitor; you have the safety net of a complaints procedure that you can follow.
Why not try a DIY Will?
You might save money up front compared with using a professional service, but if you get anything wrong you could be stirring up trouble for your family and friends when it comes to sorting out your finances after you’ve died.
Remember that, if you use a will template, the company that supplies it won’t take any responsibility for your will being correctly made. If you make any mistakes which cause problems when your will is read, there won’t be any legal comeback at all.
If you get it badly wrong, it could even mean that your will is invalid, and the law decides who your money and property should go to.
DIY Wills may sound attractive on paper, but often the amount of money saved is negligible compared to the time and stress loved ones often face following the testator’s death. When presented with a DIY Will, it is not uncommon for Solicitor’s to have to make significant amendments to ensure they do not cause any detriment.
While cutting corners on writing your Will may save you some money in the short term, the smallest mistake can result in an invalid Will. The best way to ensure that your last wishes are clear and valid is to instruct a legal professional.
If you are looking for more information on things to consider when making your will, click here.
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