With the current climate of social distancing and avoiding mixing with people outside of your household as much as possible it might be tempting to consider writing your own will. After all, you may feel this is safer as you avoid the need to travel out to visit a will writer or have them meet you in your home. DIY wills are not without their dangers though, and this article will set out why they ought to be avoided.
A professional could advise you to make sure you have an efficient estate plan in place. This could mean using more complex planning that you may not have been aware of such as trusts and making sure you’re aware of the IHT allowances available to you and how to make the best use of them. You may save money initially by writing your own will instead of paying a professional, but in the end it could cost your estate much more in taxes that could have been mitigated.
If you are planning on excluding someone who might expect to benefit from your estate you may not realise that the law allows certain people to apply to the court after your death for some provision from your estate if your will failed to make ‘reasonable’ provision for them. Professional advice will benefit you here.
For a will to be legally valid it has to meet certain requirements set out by law, specifically section 9 of the Wills Act 1837. If a will isn’t signed and witnessed correctly then it won’t be valid and it will have no legal effect.
Your DIY will might be validly signed and witnessed but there is still a danger that your wishes won’t take effect or parts of your will might fail. The main issues you could face are:
A will should appoint executors to deal with your estate after you pass away. They will be responsible for dealing with your assets, your debts, declaring and paying any relevant taxes, and ultimately making sure your estate passes on to the people you want it to. It is important you appoint someone you trust to take on this role, otherwise someone will be appointed after your death and that person may not be the most suitable executor.
If you have minor children you have probably given some thought to who you would want to care for them if anything happened to you. It is a common misconception that minor children will automatically pass into the care of their godparents or your next closest relatives, but this isn’t the case. To make sure that people you know and trust take on the care of your children you would need to appoint them as a guardian, and this can be done by will. This is something that is often overlooked in DIY wills, simply because the person making it wasn’t aware it was something they needed to do in their will!
Don’t worry, there’s no need to put yourself at any unnecessary risk and you can still safely socially distance while having a will professionally drafted.
At Lifeline Wills, we are offering to take your instructions remotely so there is no need for you to visit our office or for us to visit you in your home. You can give your instructions from the safety and comfort of your own home without any worry.
Get in touch Today and We will be happy to assist you…
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