Pitfalls of DIY Wills – The importance of having a Will professionally drafted

Published by Jenn Trussler on 16 August 2023

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Well done! You’ve finally stopped putting off thinking about your Will and now it’s time to put the right documentation in place to protect your loved ones and your estate. But what do you do next? Do you write the Will yourself or see a professional to advise you?

It is a common misconception that writing a Will is not as complicated as it seems. Surely it’s as simple as writing the names of people that will inherit your assets and signing it off? However, many issues can arise if you write your own Will without the right knowledge to do so.

Problems with DIY Wills

There’s a raft of potential issues that could arise when preparing your Will and here are just a few examples:

1) Failed gifts

You may not be aware that certain gifts in your DIY Will could fail or be void if, by way of example, a beneficiary witnesses your Will. Also, what do you want to happen if the circumstances relating to the gift of your Rolex watch to a friend or family member changes? Do you want them to have something else instead of this watch if it has been sold or lost by the time you pass away? Without careful drafting, unintended consequences are all too commonly seen which leaves family and friends confused, frustrated and feeling hard done by.

2) Unintended consequences

Did you know that leaving someone who is in receipt of state benefits a sizeable gift in your Will may have a negative impact on their ability to continue claiming benefits? Seeking professional advice can protect beneficiaries so your gift doesn’t jeopardise their existing income streams.

3) Invalid Will

If your Will doesn’t comply with specific requirements then it might not even be a legally valid document. This could cause frustrations at such a fragile time, with loved ones left after your death to determine whether or not your hard-to-decipher note with your alleged testamentary wishes is actually legal or not.

4) Inheritance tax

It’s possible that your estate may be more complex than you think and without specific planning and seeking advice from a trained professional your estate may be subject to an inheritance tax liability payable on your death, which could have otherwise been avoided or mitigated.

5) Contradictory Wills

Do you have assets in other countries? Without appropriate advice, you risk accidentally revoking Wills prepared in other countries which could make dealing with your foreign assets very difficult for your family once you have passed away. Without a Will in place for your foreign assets, these might be dealt with under the Rules of Intestacy in the relevant country and may therefore pass to somebody who you do not wish to inherit.

How can we help you?

Instructing a professional who is experienced in estate planning and Will writing ensures that you are being supported throughout the Will writing process.

We will comprehensively review all the assets in your estate so we can offer you tailored estate planning advice with a view to potentially reducing an inheritance tax liability that may arise on your death. Also, we will consider your family circumstances to ensure that the right people inherit your assets at the right time. And where it may be necessary, we will help to protect vulnerable beneficiaries in appropriate ways.

Using a professional can eliminate stress and worry. We can help to give you and your family peace of mind that your personal affairs have been considered, catered for and are in order, providing you with bespoke advice to ensure your wishes are met both during your lifetime and after your death.

What next?

Once your Will has been prepared, we recommend keeping the original Will in our secure storage for peace of mind. We will provide you with a copy of your Will as well as a useful notification document to pass to your executors to let them know the whereabouts of your Will, which means you don’t have to worry about keeping it safe and remembering where you have stored it.

If you don’t have a Will at all, if your personal and/or financial circumstances have changed since you last made your Will or if it’s simply been a while since you made your existing Will, then please get in touch with us so we can help you to ensure your loved ones will inherit your estate correctly and in the most tax efficient way possible.

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