The Dangers of DIY Wills
Whilst “off the shelf” or “DIY Wills” may seem attractive as a cheaper option than a professionally prepared option, the risks involved in completing a DIY Will can far outweigh the apparent initial savings.
A qualified Lawyer will use their professional knowledge, experience and expertise to ensure that their clients’ legal documents are prepared correctly.
Mistakes and Unintended Consequences
There are very strict rules as to how Wills should be executed and witnessed and if you fall foul of these rules your Will could be invalid. If your Will is declared invalid then your estate will be distributed in accordance with the statutory intestacy rules rather than to those who you wished to inherit.
The wording of gifts within a Will also need to be very precise and preparing a Will without detailed knowledge can result in mistakes being made and unintended consequences arising.
The “Hidden” Costs of a Badly Written Will
Weaknesses in badly written Wills are often not discovered until Probate has begun.
Estimates indicated that approximately 10% of the value of a person’s estate can be absorbed in additional fees resulting from a protracted Probate process due to an ineffective will. On an estate worth £200,000 this may result in £20,000 being eaten up in costs.
Clearly, it is far preferable for all involved to expend a relatively small sum on having a professional Will drawn up than risk the financial consequences of your Will being invalid or ineffective upon your death.
Reducing the risk of claims against your estate
A professional can also advise you on the effect of your Will should your circumstances change, for example if you were to re-marry or have children with a new Partner. Failure to obtain such advice may result in your Will failing to make adequate provision for those close to you, which could in turn result in claims being brought against your estate resulting in delay and significant financial cost.
If you need advice in relation to preparation of a Will and would like to speak to our specialist Private Client department please contact us