If you are currently putting off writing your will, then you’re not alone. It’s a sobering, solemn document – one that focuses on a part of life we’d rather forget wherever possible – and it’s understandable that so many of us would rather delay it, then dash it off as quickly and painlessly as possible.
But you don’t need me to tell you that this is a mistake – one that thousands of people make each year. A will plays a pivotal role in our loved ones’ futures, and how they are able to move on after we die.
Still, does it have to involve a meeting with a solicitor? Here’s what you need to know.
Does a solicitor have to witness a will?
No – legally speaking, a will can still be valid even if it wasn’t written or witnessed by a solicitor. At the same time, however, that validity is much less likely if you wrote the will alone.
Recent years have seen a lot of DIY will kits made available to the public – kits that promise to simplify and expedite the process of creating a will, so that it needn’t force us to confront the worst case scenarios more than we have to.
These wills can be valid, and some won’t pose any issues to grieving families. However, the risk that they will cause issues is much higher, often as a result of basic, clerical issues that make the entire document invalid.
A poorly drafted will – that is, one that has not been overseen by a legal professional – leaves itself vulnerable to misinterpretation or dispute. Family members may argue over your true wishes or any promises they feel you made but didn’t reflect in the will, and that may mean they have to turn to solicitors who can advise on contesting a will. The process that follows could be long, disruptive, and cause major issues between your loved ones.
Some people may find that their relationships and estate are ‘simple enough’ for a DIY will to suffice, but this is never the best course of action to take. It’s particularly important to seek legal advice if you’re looking to make provisions for someone who is not in a position to look after themselves, part of a complicated familial setup, dealing with property overseas, or a stakeholder in a business.
What are the common mistakes in DIY wills?
Artist, Baker and Blogger. Mum to my two beautiful, cheeky girls. Muddling my way through parenthood with equally cheeky Husband.