Should I Do My Will Myself Or Get An Expert?
Using a solicitor or will writing service to draft your will
If your affairs are complicated, or if you think your estate will be the subject of Inheritance Tax when you die, then paying a solicitor or will writing service to write your will is probably a worthwhile cost.
This can be done by meeting up (at your home if you’re using a will-writing service, or in their office if you’re using a solicitor), over the phone or online.
They will talk to you (and your partner if appropriate) about what you want to happen, who the Executors should be (these are the people who organise collection and distribution of assets when you die). Note Executors can benefit from the will – it’s normal for family members to be appointed, and there should be more than one (in case they die first!).
Basically if your affairs are simple it can be cheaper to use a will-writing service, but you don’t have the same degree of protection if something goes wrong.
Writing your will yourself
If your affairs are simple, and you understand what you want to happen when you die, then you might consider getting a template and writing your own will. Normally this would be when you’re married and want to leave everything to your spouse and / or children.
A will has to be signed and dated and witnessed by two people who aren’t beneficiaries, and you have to be clearly making your own decisions and not under any duress or coercion.
Wills tend to be written in the same way, and a template will follow this. It’s important so that there aren’t any problems later.
There are specialist firms of solicitors who help people to contest wills, so you need to be sure that your wishes are followed. Wills can be contested on grounds of testamentary capacity, lack of valid execution, lack of knowledge and approval, undue influence, fraudulent wills and forged wills, and rectification and construction claims.
This is really important, so even though it seems gloomy and some time off GET IT DONE!
It is really important to plan what you want to happen, and then take every step you can to make sure your wishes are followed. That involves making sure your will is valid, clear and unambiguous. There are an increasing number of disputes regarding wills, with courts having to rule.
Based on that, unless your situation is clear and there’s nothing complicated, YouDrive believe you should get help writing your will. If you use a will-writing service, your wishes should again be simple and you need to make sure they belong to The Society of Will Writers or The Institute of Professional Will Writers and have at least £2m of professional indemnity cover.
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Money Advice Service information on making a will
Three reasons to consider setting up a living trust from Mom and Dad Money
Saga information on trust for beneficiaries in your will
Download the HMRC guide to Inheritance Tax
AFH wealth management have a report ‘An introduction to estate planning’ – download it here
Old Mutual Wealth have a Guide to UK Inheritance Tax and Trusts – download it here