We are often asked questions about Wills, here are some of those frequently asked questions:
Do I need to use a solicitor to make a Will? Will kits, what’s wrong with them, they are cheaper than solicitors, aren’t they? Will kits or homemade DIY Wills can seem an easier and cheaper way of getting your affairs in order. Sometimes they do work. However, the laws surrounding Wills and Estates can be complex and there are many instances (including seemingly straightforward circumstances) when homemade DIY Wills and Will kits have gone wrong.
Estate planning is more than just making a Will. It involves gaining a comprehensive picture of you, your family situation, your circumstances and responsibilities, your assets and liabilities, your health and testamentary capacity. Estate planning takes many factors into account to provide you with the right advice as to how your wishes can be put into effect. Estate planning also involves looking at other structures you may need prior to death like a Power of Attorney or Appointment of Enduring Guardians.
It is what the Will kits fail to ask or do which makes them inadequate: Will kits do not sit with you and ask you about your family tree to flag up any possible family provisions claim, they are not able to assess your testamentary capacity or identify undue influence or duress over you to make a Will, they do not seek instructions from you for contingency plans in the event of death or inability of your executors to act, they don’t ask about beneficiaries and their circumstances and they don’t provide you with comprehensive advice in relation to the role of the executor and trustee or your Will. Will kit Wills open the possibility for challenges to an estate as DIY Wills are more likely to be contested.
The words you use might be easily misinterpreted and ambiguous if not drafted properly. You risk not preparing a Will properly or failing to express your intentions clearly. For example, with the words ‘my children’ do you mean biological children only or do you mean to include step-children too. The words used are important as legal terminology and common wording can have different meanings. The technical aspect of the signing and witnessing of your Will needs to be done correctly to be valid. It will cost your estate far more to rectify the inadequacies and failings of a DIY or Will kit document through the Supreme Court. Court involvement is costly financially and emotionally. So, while there will be an initial cost associated with having a solicitor prepare your Will, it can be a lot cheaper in the long run!