The risks involved in making a DIY Will


It is important to make a Will, no matter how old you are, but an increasing number of people are deciding to opt for DIY Wills.

At the outset, DIY Wills can be seen as an inexpensive option.  However, the legal costs involved to remedy their potential errors, may well exceed the cost of a professionally prepared Will.  Moreover, it may not be possible to rectify mistakes that are discovered when it’s too late.  People are not always aware of the complexities of making a Will and can assume probate work is really simple. This is not always the case.

Off-the-shelf DIY Will kits are often poorly completed, leading to confusion over what assets have been left and to whom. Common errors that can occur in the process of making a DIY Will, include; incorrectly signing or witnessing the Will, leaving the document invalid.  There is also the risk that your words will create ambiguity or be misconstrued or won’t be able to be put into effect.  Poor drafting may cause a result quite different from what you intended.

When Wills go wrong, people may lose their only source of income, property is left in limbo, and the financial and emotional cost of dealing with the fallout can be huge.

This is particularly the case if you aren’t married to your partner, if you and your partner have children from previous relationships, if you are looking to split properties, if you own a business, have overseas assets, or are concerned about inheritance tax.

For some people, the limited options provided by a DIY kit will be OK for their purposes, for many it will not.  No matter how well it is put together, no kit can cater for the infinite variety of circumstances that affects what sort of Will a person needs. If the DIY Will doesn’t meet your needs, the outcome could be disastrous for your family.

There are many benefits to involving a lawyer in the process. They can correct any misunderstandings (such as what assets can or can’t be dealt with via a Will) or discuss different options with you, such as who to appoint as executor or the most tax effective method of distribution.  They can also remind you to read over your Will every few years and determine if your changed circumstances require a new Will.  Or they can draft your Will to contemplate future life changes, such as marriage or additional children, so you don’t need to update your Will when this happens.

A well-drafted Will gives you peace of mind that you have done all you can to enable your wishes to be fulfilled and your loved ones provided for.

For further guidance and advice on this topic, please contact Helen Phillips or Paula Murphy on 01792 468684 or email enquiries@pgmsolicitors.co.uk.

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