If you are thinking of writing your own DIY Will… beware you might want to think again!
In light of the Coronavirus pandemic, the number of people seeking to write new Wills has increased by 30% according to a report published by the Law Society.
The Wills and Probate department of Liverpool law firm Paul Crowley & Co are strongly advising people who maybe considering the prospect of writing their own DIY Will to proceed with caution if doing so.
Even if your wishes are very simple and there are no financial complications… there are still legal guidelines that need to be followed with a DIY Will to ensure that it is valid.
While it may be a tempting for many to save some money, is writing your own Will, the safest option to a professionally written Will?
Do I have to use a solicitor to write my Will?
While there are no laws that state you have to use the services of a solicitor, it is all to common for people when writing their own will to make a simple mistake or to not follow the strict witnessing guidelines set out in Section 9 of the Wills Act 1837, the consequences of which can have serious financial implications, rendering your will invalid and leading to costly and emotional family disputes.
So is writing your own Will a good idea?
There are scenarios in which a DIY Will can make sense, but only if your affairs are very straightforward and you wish to leave all your assets to one person without any further conditions.
In general writing a DIY Will is never a good idea.
What are the options for writing a Will?
To see if writing your own Will is for you, Paul Crowley & Co explain the disadvantages of the DIY Will and discuss the other Will writing options that are available.
Depending on which method of Will writing you chose, the protections afforded can vary hugely if something was to go wrong.
Paul Crowley & Co look at the options to help you to decide.
There are three different ways to obtain a will:
Getting a solicitor to write your will
Using a will writing service
Writing your own DIY will
We would like to point out a word of WARNING that will writing is an unregulated market.
However solicitors are classed as regulated professionals, so if you were to use Paul Crowley & Co solicitors to write your Will, you will be covered by a range of valuable safeguards.
This is not so with Will writing services or with a DIY Will whereby you are on your own and a simple mistake can mean paying a much higher price.
“By using Paul Crowley & Co to write your Will, will safeguard your assets in the knowledge that your Will is valid and that your estate will go to your loved ones, we will make the whole process simple… after speaking to our friendly and approachable team you will be wondering why you didn’t do it sooner!”.
Head of Private Client
Getting a solicitor to write your Will
Getting a solicitor to draw up your Will can provide you with peace of mind and save a lot of stress for the loved ones you leave behind.
With a Will professionally written by a solicitor you are protected in a way the other options cannot provide and it is the only way to make sure your estate which includes money, property, investments and possessions go to the people or charitable causes you care about most.
You should seriously consider using a solicitor to write your Will if you run a business, have overseas assets or if you have children with a previous partner, or have an estate valued at over £325,000 you will be liable to pay Inheritance Tax, if you want to be on the safe side, this is the best option for you.
The law surrounding inheritances (including Inheritance Tax and trusts) is complicated area, your solicitor will be familiar with the law and will be able to advise you in the most tax-efficient way to distribute your estate.
A solicitor will usually store the original Will for you free of charge in a fireproof safe.
Solicitors are regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) so you can be more confident the risk of a mistake being made will be minimised, if a problem were to arise you can make a formal complaint directly to the solicitor. Should the solicitor fail to deal with your complaint in a satisfactory and timely manner then you can take your complaint to the Legal Ombudsman. With other methods of Will writing you are not guaranteed this safeguard.
Using a Will writing service
The choice to use a Will writing service will depend on the complexity of your Will.
Will writing services tend to be most suited to people with straightforward estates, for example where you are leaving everything to your immediate family and your estate doesn’t include a business or any overseas assets.
However, Will writing services are generally not regulated and the Will writer may not have any legal qualifications, and if there are any protections they may be limited compared with that of a regulated firm of solicitors. There may also be an extra charge for storing your Will.
It is also worth noting that if you use an online Will template, the company supplying the Will, will not take any responsibility for the Will being correctly filled out.
Writing your own DIY Will
People choosing to complete their own DIY wills are often not aware of the complexities of complying with the legal formalities of executing a Will.
However, you should be aware if you get it badly wrong, it could mean that your Will is invalid, leaving no legal comeback and your Will will be ‘intestate’ meaning the law will decide upon the future of your estate leaving you with no influence in how your money and property should be divided up.
You could risk leaving your family with a Will dispute and your estate significantly reduced by unnecessary legal costs.
Contact Paul Crowley & Co
If you have any questions about a DIY Will that a family member has written which you feel does not accurately reflect their wishes, please contact Paul Crowley & Co to discuss this.
Perhaps the procedure for witnessing and signing of the Will were not followed correctly, or that their mental capacity at the time the Will was signed has been brought into question, if so then please do not hesitate to contact Natasha or Chloé on 0151 264 7363 who will be happy to answer any of your questions.
If you have not yet written your Will and would like to do so call us now…
For Paul Crowley & Co to write your Will need not be expensive.
A Will that has been written professionally by a regulated solicitor will give you peace of mind and you can rest assured that your Will is valid and will not be open to misinterpretation.
Perhaps you’re thinking about how to take care of your estate should the worst happen, so there’s less stress for the people you love? If so please call Natasha or Chloé on the number below.
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