Should I write my own will? Here at moneystepper, we strongly recommend that you have a last will and testament in case of the worst happening. However, this doesn’t necessarily mean that you need to pay for an expensive lawyer…
Your Last Will and Testament is perhaps the most important document that you will leave behind after your passing. It avoids complex probate upon death. It’s more than a legal headache: It is your direct instructions regarding where your estate – your entire life’s work – will end up after you’re gone. Is it therefore a good idea to write my own will and save a few pounds at the same time?
A quick Google search of this will bring up hundreds of hits, all nay-saying do it yourself wills. I disagree, however. Here’s why – and when – you should consider writing your own will.
Writing your own will
Now the first problem with DIY wills is the fact that the vast majority of us are not appropriately qualified to understand the inner workings of important legal documents. Therefore, many who have chosen to draft DIY wills have ended up leaving their inheritors with a litigious nightmare when it comes round to disseminating the estate.
These are only in the most complicated of examples, however, and we urge you to consider consulting a solicitor if you own a business, have property overseas, you have children from previous marriages and/or, you want to reduce or avoid inheritance taxes in the case of large sums of money being left behind.
Should your considerations be mild, we would strongly recommend that you take the cheaper (and quicker option) of setting writing your own will.
But, how do you do this? We would recommend creating your own from a legally approved template. Using a last will template only costs a few pounds, and helps ensure that the document is sufficiently thorough from a legal perspective. We use lawdepot.co.uk where you can sign up to a one-month free trial with no obligation and obtain legal templates for all number of needs, including your last will and testament. If you wish to try one month for free, follow up via the banner below:
The Cost to Write my Own Will
The main benefit of drafting a DIY will is, of course, the price.
Using lawdepot.co.uk means you could obtain your pack for free. However, DIY packs are also available from various book stores or online, and you can even pick them up for under £10 on the cheaper end of the spectrum. Should you wish to spend a little more, packs for around the £20 mark are also available, though they are fundamentally no different to their cheaper counterparts.
Compare this to the usual consultancy fee when using a solicitor and you’re looking at savings running into the hundreds, with most solicitors charging around £300 for a professional will consultation.
Now, most of the problems associated with DIY wills come simply from the fact that they were rushed, not properly prepared, or the author paid little consideration to how they should be done. There are numerous examples of the horrors associated to doing it yourself, but they all come down to a few basic errors.
These can be greatly reduced by using a legal template, such as those recommended above.
Most Common Errors
Firstly, and perhaps most importantly, make sure your will is somewhere it can be found. Don’t go leaving it under a pile of old receipts in the desk drawer, or anywhere where it could be accidentally thrown out. If possible, create several copies (both digitally and physically) and mount it in its own marked folder on your book shelf.
Ensure that you let the executor know exactly where the document is stored, as they will need access to this shortly after your passing. You must also be sure that the signing aspect of the document is done correctly. Remember: 2 people need to witness the signing of the document and both must sign stating that everything was in order at the time of the witnessing; neither witness can be a beneficiary of the will. This is very important as failure to do this correctly will render the will completely invalid, and will create a plethora of posthumous problems for your family and friends.
Next, make sure you choose your executors carefully, with your children being your obvious choice, or someone that is sure to survive you. Make sure the instructions upon the will are also clear, unconvoluted and relevant, and make sure that you update the document periodically, especially as your circumstances change.
Finally, pay attention to the details. Once you’re gone, there will be no double-checking. What you leave in this document is will become your legacy, so make sure everything is accurate, especially when dealing with cash amounts, and double-check the spelling of names. Additionally, you can include your plans for your funeral, if you have any specific wishes.
Legal Validity If I Write my Own Will
Assuming all of this is done correctly, you then have a perfectly valid set of instructions concerning your estate after death. The document will be, in principle, no different to one drafted by a specialist, and its instructions must be followed as per your wishes.
Remember that using a template will make the process much more efficient and will help ensure that it is legally valid.
It must be maintained, however, as was mentioned at the beginning of the article, that a DIY will is only advisable when you have a very straight-forward set of wishes after your death.
Should your situation be more complex, then we at the very least recommend that you consult a professional, for example Coles Solicitor. Treat this affair under no circumstances with anything less than the care that it deserves. There can, unfortunately, be no changing your mind after your gone, so as long you bear that in mind when considering going DIY, there really is no reason to be worried, sceptical or pay over the odds to have your will drafted. After all, the more money you can leave to your family, the better.
Should I write my own will? If this article has helped you answer this question, then please share via social media so that your friends and family can make sure that they have also drafted this essential legal document: