Are DIY Wills Legal?
Writing a will is potentially most important document you will ever write. It’s an essential document to ensure your savings and assets are distributed and divided how you see fit when you pass away. If you die without a will, or with an invalid will, it may be invalid or illegal.
In spite of this, many people in the local area of Middlesbrough and indeed UK wide still fail to write a will properly, usually due to the cost.
DIY will packs have come to be more popular recently, as a cheap alternative to having one created by a qualified professional such as Complete Estate Protection. Some wills can be written from as little as £6.99 and can be completed within minutes.
However, as with most things in life, they are often too good to be true. Although writing a will for yourself can be legal, as long as it is signed, there is always the risk that the will will have not been completed properly .
Off-the-shelf wills may seem a bargain, but if the will has errors, or it has not followed the strict witnessing rules, it could be deemed invalid. This could potentially cost thousands of pounds in the long run, which negates the initial savings.
The rise of the DIY Will
The rise of the DIY has led to inheritance disputes increasing by 62% over the past few years.
Poorly administered DIY wills are also to blame for prolonged probate ordeals outside of court, with 38,000 families per year affected.
Sometimes, up to 10% of the estate value is eaten up by costly legal fees as a result of an ineffective will. So, the initial saving of a few pounds can equate to thousands of pounds in the long run.
The problems with DIY Wills
So why should you use a professional service such as Complete Estate Protection? All DIY wills have different makeup and differing terms. In the very cheap packs, for example, there is often no mention of the need to appoint a “substitute beneficiary”. This means if the person you want to inherit your estate dies before you, the will becomes invalid.
There is also often no mention of inheritance tax implications, or any specifics about the age you would like your children to be when they receive their inheritance. Many DIY wills can be deemed invalid if beneficiaries’ names are misspelt or addresses are wrong.
One of the biggest issues with DIY wills, however, is in relation to the witnesses. In order for a will to be valid it must have been signed in the presence of two people who are UK citizens and 18 and over and are not named as beneficiaries in the will.
They also need to be physically present when the will is signed. Of course, if someone wishes to contest the will, they may suspect the will was filled out and signed by someone without mental capacity, or under duress.
A DIY will service will also often have hidden costs. For many services, there are annual storage fees and retrievals fees, which could potentially run in the hundreds of pounds. This would make using a professional such as Complete Estate Protection a cheaper alternative in the long term.
If you’re based near Middlesbrough or Teesside or in the areas of Stainsby, Normanby, Stainton and Billingham or anywhere in the surrounding area, we can assist with Wills or any other probate, power of attorney or trust guidance you may require please contact 01642 493101 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Please click here to learn more about Wills.