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Do You Really Need a Lawyer to Write your Will? - How a DIY Will Can Wreck Your Estate Plan

The importance of a properly prepared valid Will is underestimated. Whilst it is tempting to save money by using a DIY Will Kit, such decisions are fraught with danger and can cause significant cost to your estate following your death.

So, what is a DIY Will? This is any Will which is not prepared formally by a lawyer. Often these are homemade by a Will-maker by writing or typing out what they consider to be their wishes or by purchasing a DIY Will kit, usually from a Post Office or other institution.

The most common examples of issues the Court sees with DIY Wills are:

  1. Assets not being appropriately dealt with in the Will

    1. Specific assets are capable of being distributed to a particular beneficiary or beneficiaries when properly identified and worded appropriately. DIY Wills may not validly deal with the property or gift, causing it to not be distributed in the intended way.

  2. Witnesses signing with different pens

    1. For a Will to be valid, the Will-maker and the witnesses (two present adults) all must sign in the same pen. Where different colour pens are used, the Court are likely to raise question whether the Will–maker and witnesses were all present at the same time when the Will was signed.

  3. Issues with the wording of the Will.

    1. Wills must be carefully drafted to ensure that the document gives effect to the Will-makers wishes following their death. Contradictory or uncertain provisions may cause for the Will-maker’s estate to not be distributed in the intended way.

  4. Questions as to the testamentary capacity of the Will maker.

    1. When taking Will instructions, solicitors consider the testamentary capacity of their clients to make a Will. This not only includes mental capacity but as well, consideration is given to ensure there is no undue influence on the Will maker by family or friends.

Solicitors keep extensive notes about appointments with Will-makers and as a consequence, if the validity of a Will is questioned in Court, the solicitors file can be utilised to ascertain answers to the above questions in certain circumstances.

KD & Co Lawyers can provide you with expert knowledge and advice in relation to the proper preparation and signing of you Will and other Estate Planning documents. We can guide you through the process of formalising your wishes and ensuing that your Will is prepared, witnessed and signed in accordance with legal requirements. Contact KD & Co Lawyers on 08 7084 3060 or via email at to organise an obligation free appointment.

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