Afterlife regrets: 5 reasons why a DIY will may not service its purpose

Every year thousands of consumers create their own Do-it-Yourself wills. 60% of the people who die, die without a Will. Those who die leaving a DIY kit, get it wrong. And, from a half-decent-lawyer perspective, we say it just goes downhill from there. 

1)    But the law says a DIY Will stands

Can you write your own Will? Sure, you can! You can also build your own house, but that doesn’t mean you should. A Will is an important legal document that distributes your property to people you have named such as the summer house to your son, the boat to your daughter and the £20,000 in your bank account to the husband. These are simple and straightforward instructions that a DIY Will can deal with.

2)    What-the-DIY-did-you-do?

It may be cheaper to avoid using a professional, but a simple mistake can mean paying a much higher price.

We know it is mostly price and time that drives you to a DIY Will. Using an off-the-shelf Will can be strategic, after all “they are strong products, if they are used properly,” says our Wills leader. It may even “offer an attractive price” in place of a solicitor or professional, but a simple error can prove disastrous. For example, the draft may not properly reflect the way you intended it, thereby making it invalid.

“The risk of leaving your family with a financial and emotional mess” is simply not worth it. According to the Guardian, a poorly drafted on an ineffective DIY Will affects 38,000 families each year.        

3) A Will is akin to open heart surgery; you simply don’t do that by yourself

It’s the importance of good advice, unless your needs are simple that can make or break a Will.

If conditions need to be added or if there are additional complications, doing it yourself could easily prove false economy.

“This is particularly the case if you aren’t married to your partner, if you and your partner have children from previous relationships, if you are looking to split properties, if you own a business, have overseas assets, or are concerned about inheritance tax” – Patrick Connolly of Chase de Vere financial advisers.

4) A DIY Will that fails because you didn’t get it witnessed

Most DIY Wills share something in common. They aren’t 1) properly witnessed or 2) witnessed at all which makes them invalid.

Other errors include misspelled names and failure to sign the document properly making them very difficult to act upon and will undoubtedly invite court fees at later stages to sort it.

5) Complex wishes really do need a professional

Complex Trust Wills require a specialist to look carefully at how you own your property.

The benefit of this is that you may wish to change the way in which you own your property (if you own it with someone else) and that will require an SEV form. Simple instructions can easily go wrong if you do not know how to navigate land registry forms.

There is no substitute for proper legal advice when it comes to people with complicated affairs; those with children from a previous marriage, for instance, or with an estate that could potentially be subject to inheritance tax. Although this will obviously cost more than using a basic will pack or seeking advice from unqualified advisers, the potential savings could be worth an awful lot more in the long run.

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