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Can I Write My Own Will?

Reasons to choose Wilson Browne

Recent years have seen an increasing number of people writing their own Wills to determine how their estate (money, property and possessions) should be distributed amongst their loved ones following their death.

DIY Wills and Will writing kits are readily available online. They provide a template that you fill in to indicate to whom you want to leave your assets. As these templates are often provided for free or at a very low cost, they can seem an attractive option compared to paying to have a solicitor draw up your Will.

Many people, however, believe that the long-term disadvantages of writing your own Will mean that the traditional method of seeking expert legal advice is still the better option.

Can you write your own Will?

Writing your own Will is legal, but for all but the simplest estates, it is highly advisable to seek professional guidance to ensure the document is fit for purpose in ensuring that your loved ones benefit as you intend.

Even if it seems that your estate will be simple to distribute, it is possible subsequent changes in your family circumstances (such as having more children with a new partner) or your financial position (for example, your house rising in value so that your estate becomes liable to inheritance tax) could complicate matters and mean that your DIY Will is no longer adequate to meet your needs.

Are DIY Wills and Will writing kits legal?

DIY Wills and Will writing kits are legal in principle but in practice, it is vital that the templates are completed correctly.

Any mistakes could invalidate the document meaning you will be deemed to have died without making a Will, known in legal terms as dying intestate.

Why use a solicitor instead?

Although having a solicitor draft your Will might cost more in the short term, it may ultimately prove much the better option – both financially and in terms of peace of mind for you and your loved ones.

Drawing up a Will is your way to stay in control of the way your assets are distributed after your death and so there is a strong argument in favour of ensuring it is drafted in the most professional way possible.

We will see below that utilising the experience, expertise, and professionalism of a solicitor brings a number of key advantages as opposed to writing your own Will.

Professional service

Unlike the ‘off-the-peg’ option of using a DIY Will or Will writing kit, a solicitor can offer a bespoke service. They will get to know you and your wishes and ensure that the Will is tailor-made to meet your requirements.

Having a Will drafted by a legal expert means it is unlikely to contain any errors that could invalidate it. Crucially, solicitors are tightly regulated and so in the rare instances where errors occur, there is the opportunity to gain compensation.

The fact that a solicitor has been involved in the drawing up of your Will also provides a potential way of rebutting any future accusations that proper procedures were not followed or that you were coerced into making the Will.

By gaining an insight into your personal circumstances the solicitor can also assess the ways in which your requirements may change in the years to come.

They can then future-proof the Will so that it is more likely to remain fit for purpose. For example, the Will could be framed so that any children you have subsequently automatically become beneficiaries of your estate without the need to amend the Will.

In addition, solicitors such as Wilson Browne are fully qualified to make Sharia Law compliant for a Will under English law to ensure that the wishes of Muslim clients are respected.

Wilson Browne also offer free will health checks at regular intervals (to assess if the will needs amending or replacing) and a free Will storage facility to avoid the risk of the document being mislaid.

Legal and financial expertise

By choosing to work with a solicitor you are giving yourself the chance to benefit from their expertise and ability to fine-tune your will to meet your requirements – something that would not be available with DIY Wills and Will writing kits.

For example, if any of your beneficiaries are still children, a solicitor could help you make provision to set up a trust (and appoint trustees) to safeguard their interests until adulthood.

On the financial front, a solicitor could also help you to minimise your estate’s liability for inheritance tax and capital gains tax, or arrange for guidance on the most efficient way to sell overseas assets. At Wilson Browne, we work with trusted local accountants where appropriate to ensure as much of your estate as possible goes to your loved ones.

 

How can I find out more about having my Will drawn up by a solicitor?

Wilson Browne’s solicitors have considerable experience and expertise in all areas of drawing up Wills. We offer a friendly, personal service with the fee for drafting a Will starting at just £295 (plus VAT).

Our team will ensure that your Will benefits your loved ones in the way you wish.

Once they have gained a thorough understanding of your requirements, we will work proactively to identify ways of making your Will as comprehensive, precise and robust as possible.

We are also committed to keeping in touch with you over subsequent years so that we can ensure your Will still meets your needs.

Wilson Browne has offices in Corby, Higham Ferrers & Rushden, Kettering, Leicester, Northampton and Wellingborough to offer you a face-to-face meeting in your local area. We are also very happy to pay home visits to clients with mobility issues.

Please call 0800 088 6004 or complete our online form to find out more about how we can help ensure your will secures the future of your loved ones.

Vicki Pearce

Posted:

Vicki Pearce

Partner

Vicki is a Partner and head of our Private Client Team and our Care Funding and Court of Protection Team . She is based in Northampton. As head of both teams she is able to bring her expertise and obvious overlaps into both areas of…