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Read more articles in: Author, Blog, Private Client, Rachel Blackburn

The risks of DIY Wills

When you consider writing your own Will, the advantages may seem clear at first – it’s cost-effective, convenient, and can be quickly accomplished with numerous online templates and software options at your disposal.

This might appeal particularly to those of you seeking to cut costs and simplify what may seem like a drawn-out process.

However, while the upfront savings may seem attractive, the potential risks and downstream consequences simply aren’t worth it.

The law surrounding Wills is intricate, and without a thorough understanding, it’s easy to create a document that does not accomplish what you intend, or worse, is legally invalid.

Another of the critical oversights of a DIY Will is its potential failure to address the specific legal requirements or complex personal circumstances, such as remarriages or ownership of overseas properties.

As such, the language used in Wills needs to be precise and clear or you could find that your assets are not passed down as per your wishes.

Ambiguities in wording or simple errors – like the misuse of legal terms – can dramatically alter the distribution of your assets, leading to disputes among your beneficiaries.

These disputes can drag on, causing distress to your loved ones and potentially depleting the very estate you sought to protect.

In addition, DIY Will-making services and templates cannot provide personalised legal advice that is specific to your situation.

Every situation is unique, and tailored advice is crucial, especially for complex estates or tax planning strategies that involve Inheritance Tax considerations.

Without this advice, you might miss out on opportunities to minimise tax burdens or fail to adequately protect your assets against potential future claims.

Why you need a solicitor

Engaging a solicitor to draft your Will brings a level of expertise and peace of mind that DIY options simply can’t match.

Solicitors are trained to handle complex legal issues and can ensure that your Will comprehensively addresses all aspects of your estate, adhering to all legal standards.

A solicitor can provide bespoke advice that reflects your specific financial and familial circumstances.

This tailored approach means your Will is crafted to precisely fit your needs and wishes, which is particularly important if you have complex family dynamics.

This might include:

  • Previous marriages
  • Children from previous marriages
  • Or adopted/married-in family members

Although it might seem counterintuitive, investing in professional Will drafting can save money in the long run.

By creating a legally sound and clear Will, you minimise the risk of costly legal disputes and ensure that your estate is distributed as you wish, without undue delay or expense.

This not only protects your legacy but also safeguards your loved ones from potential financial and emotional turmoil.

However, if you or your family finds themselves in a situation where a Will is disputed, we can assist with this, and always aim to provide a positive resolution to the situation.

Hopefully we have outlined that while the temptation to try to save money and time with a DIY Will is understandable, the risks involved simply outweigh the benefits.

Through our experienced professional guidance, you can ensure that your final wishes are respected and that your estate is secured.

If you’d like to write a Will that is legally binding and complies with the relevant regulations, please get in touch.

Rachel Blackburn

Head of Wills, Probate and Older Client Services

I joined Mander Hadley’s Wills, Probate and Older Client Services Team in 2018.I specialise in the preparation of Wills, Probate and estate administration, trusts and trust administration and Lasting Powers of Attorney. I also have experience of care fee planning and appeals of Continuing Health Care decisions.