Everyone should have a Will, and in theory you could just write one yourself on a scrap of paper and hope for the best, however this could cause you more hassle, time and money in the long term. OK, you may not be around to deal with the upset and the consequences, but would you like your family to have to cope with this at a time that is already going to be extremely upsetting?
For a Will to be valid, there are various elements that need to be taken into account to ensure the estate is properly disposed of and to secure the correct process to sign the Will.
DIY Wills can be extremely risky and there has been a huge rise in the number of inheritance disputes since the trend to try and draft a Will yourself, without the help of an experienced lawyer.
The key thing is experience. Most people only make a Will once or twice in their lives, therefore they are no expert. Private client lawyers however draft Wills on a daily basis and therefore understand the key areas that need to be included and the relevance of the exact wording when doing so. They can also offer valuable input into sensitive and complex situations involving finances and non-traditional family set-ups.
Remember that no matter how much time is put into drafting a Will, if it is not signed properly, it will be invalid, despite the best intentions.
Families today are often complex, especially when people have been married more than once or perhaps have children from previous relationships. If your family situation is not straightforward or you have people who are financially dependent on you, ensure you think through what you wish to happen after you are no longer here and that any wishes cannot be misunderstood.
In addition to family situations, if you own a property abroad, own a business, have foreign investments or want to reduce your Inheritance Tax bill it is worth speaking to an expert.
A basic Will, drafted by a lawyer, is not expensive, so people should not be lured into thinking that a DIY will is more affordable. DIY Wills often have problems and end up in Court at a later date. Disputes can have devastating effects on the family who have already lost their loved one. Challenges can easily end up costing £15,000 in fees and take 12 or more months to resolve, delaying inheritances as well as causing a huge amount of stress.
For complete peace of mind and protection, speak to a lawyer today about drafting your Will.