RSS Feed

Related Articles

Related Categories

Can I write my own will?

9th December 2019 Print
Will writing

In short, the answer is yes, you can. The real question is should you?

A will is an incredibly important legal document. It allows you to detail what happens to your money, property and possessions after your death. For it to be valid, it needs to not only clearly state your wishes, but also be correctly witnessed, signed, and accessible when needed.

If your will is not found or considered invalid then the law will dictate who gets what. This is known as the rules of intestacy.

DIY wills have become more popular in recent years, perhaps as people look to save money on legal fees. It is probably no coincidence that in line with this increase, inheritance disputes heard in the High Court have risen by 62% in the last year (2018-2019)*.

In theory, you could write down your last wishes on a scrap of paper and, if it is properly signed and witnessed by two present, adult, independent witnesses then it should be legally binding.

However, things are rarely this straightforward. Common issues include:

1. Not being aware of the precise and formal requirements needed to make a will valid – such as who can be a witness and how the document should be signed and dated

2. Failing to take into account all money, property and assets

3. Failure to consider that a beneficiary may die prior to the person making the will

4. Lack of knowledge regarding the Inheritance Act (Provision for Family and Dependents)1975 and the rules surrounding dependents and a right to claim if they do not feel adequately provided for

5. Wording left open for interpretation - Wills often include a standard way of writing – a way which is less likely to be used by an unpractised hand

6. Spelling mistakes, particularly of people’s names, which causes confusion and raises queries regarding the document’s validity

7. Storage - Where  will the will be safe while remaining easily accessible when needed

8. Not destroying old versions of a will, leaving multiple version up for dispute

A solicitor or experienced lawyer, such as those at GA Solicitors should always be instructed if:

1. You own property abroad or have foreign investments or bank accounts

2. You are a business owner

3. There are family complications – such as step-children, or you have a long term partner but you are not married

4. You would like to make a provision for a dependent who is unable to care for themselves

5. There are several family members who may make a claim on the will, for example, a second wife or children from a first marriage

6. You would like the will safely stored by a professional firm

Causing unnecessary, additional stress for your close friends or family is something that most of us want to avoid at all costs. We certainly would not like to think that our attempts to cut costs could in fact lead to our loved ones having to defend our wishes in a court.

With this in mind, when consulting a professional to draw up your will, you need to consider that not only are you paying for the document itself but, just as importantly, you are paying for the knowledge, skill and advice of that lawyer. This knowledge could save you and your estate a lot of money in the future.

Why not find out how much a professionally drawn up will would cost? You may be surprised at how inexpensive it actually is. And exactly what price do you put on your own peace of mind?

More Photos - Click to Enlarge

Will writing