When a loved one dies, it is of course a very emotional time for those around you. Therefore, having a professionally prepared Will in place will bring peace of mind for your family and also ensures both your non-financial and financial wishes are carried out by your chosen executors.
Some people choose to write their own Will and others may look to a free or budget friendly Will writing service, either because they believe it is simple to do or it is not worth spending more on instructing a solicitor.
Whilst there is no legal requirement to have a Will, there are specific formalities and wording to ensure your Will is legally valid. So, if you are writing it yourself, you must ensure the correct wording is used and the Will has been signed and witnessed correctly.
If your Will is not legally valid, the law under the intestacy rules, will decide who is responsible for administering your estate and which beneficiaries are receiving your property and money; they may not be the friends and family whom you intended to benefit!
Solicitors are regulated, insured and professionally trained. They have all the resources needed at their fingertips to ensure your Will meets with your testamentary wishes and to give tailored advice having given careful consideration to your circumstances, including your finances and relationships.
Solicitors use certain and specific wording when drafting wills to set out your wishes with clarity, leaving no room for misinterpretation by your executors or inviting a challenge to be made against your estate. There are sometimes technical considerations and again this can dictate the contents of your Will.
There are also benefits of succession and tax planning and it may be that certain provisions are required in your Will to maximise the available tax allowances and reliefs ensuring your estate does not pay more inheritance tax than it needs to.
In the UK, you are free to leave your estate to whomever you wish, however there are expectations for certain classes of beneficiaries and a solicitor is best placed to advise you of any potential issues that could arise on your death.
With there being no regulation over the act of preparing a Will, there are no restrictions on someone opening up shop as a Will writer, even though they may have no training, qualifications or professional indemnity insurance in relation to the preparation of a Will. As a result, we often see Wills and associated documents like Trusts that have been prepared by Will writing firms that are not fit for purpose. To make matters worse, without professional indemnity insurance, there are often limited options for you or your loved ones to pursue.
DIY wills can cause prolonged complications usually due to the proper procedures not being followed (and therefore being invalid) or from the wording used being ambiguous and open to different interpretations. This can result in long delays to the administration of your estate in addition to legal and financial disputes, which are not only costly to your estate but also emotionally taxing for those left behind. As these Wills were homemade, there is no one to sue nor professional indemnity insurance protection in place to recover the loss to your estate that these problems cause.
A professionally prepared Will, accompanied with professional advice and estate planning all covered by professional indemnity insurance, is an important investment and the best legacy you could leave for your loved ones. Please contact a member of our expert Wills and Probate Team on 01590 676933 or email [email protected] if you would like to talk about your requirements.