The Problem With Homemade Wills
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A homemade Will is often cheaper than using a firm of solicitors to make a Will but, in the long run, this can cost the remaining family or friends a great deal in terms of the cost of rectifying any errors (if possible) or legal fees in bringing a claim against the estate.
It is common for close family members or friends of a person making a Will to complete the Will on their behalf, especially if that person is suffering from ill health. If those close family members or friends are due to substantially benefit from the Will then this could be classed as undue influence and those due to benefit may need to provide evidence to remove the suspicion. Not only that but you may risk leaving your family with a financial and emotional mess, but your legacy could be eaten away by legal bills or unnecessary tax.
Citizens Advice advises towards the professional approach, saying that while you can go down the homemade Will route if the will is straightforward, it is advisable to use a solicitor.
When you should not write a homemade Will:
You should use professional help to write your will if:
- You own property abroad .
- You’re trying to reduce your Inheritance Tax bill.
- You have foreign investments or bank accounts.
- You own a business that you’re leaving to someone as part of your will.
- You have people who are financially dependent on you other than your immediate family.
- Your will includes any wishes that might be misunderstood or are even slightly complex.
Why you should use a solicitor?
- You’re protected if something goes wrong. Solicitors are stringently regulated. If you have any problems you can make a complaint to the solicitor’s firm. If the solicitor’s firm doesn’t deal with your complaint properly then you can go to the Legal Ombudsman.
- You can be more confident there are no mistakes. Common problems with wills, like using the wrong witnesses or forgetting to have it signed, could mean it’s not valid when you die. Using a solicitor should minimise the risk of things like this happening.
- The complicated bits are done for you. The law surrounding inheritances (including Inheritance Tax and trusts) is complicated. Solicitors will be familiar with the law and will be able to help you make the most effective choices.
- Your will is stored safely. If a solicitor helps you write your will, they’ll usually store the original for you in a fireproof safe free of charge.
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The contents of this article are intended for general information purposes only and shall not be deemed to be, or constitute legal advice. We cannot accept responsibility for any loss as a result of acts or omissions taken in respect of this article.
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