In today’s society it’s common for people to shop around for quick, cheap solutions to problems they may face. DIY Wills and online Will writing services offer a cheaper alternative to solicitor and professional Will writing fees – but will the quick saving pay off in the long run?
Why write a Will? Making a Will is an essential way of ensuring that your wishes regarding the distribution of your assets and finances are known, making it easier for your relatives and loved ones to sort out your estate after you’ve gone.
DIY Will packs are easy to get a hold of, as are available in many stationary stores and online. These services may be worth considering if your wishes are very simple and straightforward; for example if you plan to leave everything to a spouse. However, it is also worth understanding the risk that comes with this DIY approach. An investigation by Money Mail found a string of pitfalls, and even though this alternative may seem cheap at first, in the future your family could face high fees.
The downside to D.I.Y
Without any legal advice and support in the Will writing process, it is easy for mistakes to be made; and not discovered until it’s too late. Maddalena Proctor, manager of our Gleadless branch, said “DIY Wills appear to be good value. However, if you fail to get them witnessed correctly, this could invalidate the document.”
Other errors such as, misspelling of names and addresses, or the document being poorly drafted; are likely to cause the Will to become ineffective, and prolong the probate process. These cut-rate legal documents have also been blamed for the rise in High Court disputes as many questions are left unanswered, allowing disagreements to be made on interpretations of wishes. This situation could leave loved ones with expensive court battles, in order to proceed with administering any estate.
These self-service approaches are also likely to miss out details of necessary measures to take to avoid future problems. This includes things such as, naming a substitute beneficiary in case an heir to your estate dies before you do; or ways to avoid unnecessary Inheritance Tax.
Another big risk of a poorly done Will is it being declared invalid in the eyes of the law; which means you will die intestate. In this circumstance, it will be up to the law to decide how your estate will be administered, which may not be what you would have wished for.
Trust a professional
Maddalena adds “We recommend seeking professional legal advice as people’s affairs are rarely simple and straightforward.”
“For example, if you aren’t married to your partner, have children from different relationships, own businesses, or if you are concerned about inheritance tax, then it would be advisable to seek legal guidance.”
For further advice specific to you, or help with drafting your Will, we’re here to help. Contact us today either just for a chat, or to arrange an appointment.