DIY Wills: Coronavirus Warning

If you are tempted to do any DIY whilst in isolation then stick to the house because there are many pitfalls in drafting your own will or preparing a will for someone else to sign.  In the long run this can be much more costly by creating a potential challenge to the validity of a will, if someone disputes the will or if you have to refer the case to the court for direction for guidance upon the meaning of any part of the will.

DIY Wills: Expert Advice from a Will Solicitor

We recognise these are challenging times and you may be considering making a DIY will but there can be no substitute for consulting an expert will solicitor to ensure that your wishes are both properly recorded, your will is valid and likelihood of a challenge to your will is considered and/or reduced where possible.

When taking your instructions our will solicitors in Chester, Liverpool, Warrington and Wrexham will not only be concerned with where you want your assets to go upon death, but also to ensure that the formalities of both making a will are complied with and that the person making the will has sound mind, memory and understanding, and does so entirely of their own free will.

Here at Freeman Jones Solicitors our will solicitors also usually witness the will or in these more troubled times we can provide you with detailed advice on how to execute the will properly away from our offices. Our professional solicitor obligations also require us to keep detailed notes of our meetings, telephone discussions and correspondence which can be very useful and used as evidence if a future dispute were to arise. During your lifetime of course however the rules governing confidentiality between solicitors and client remains in force and so matters remain totally confidential.

Some common pitfalls to DIY Wills

There are numerous pitfalls associated with will writing and we set out below some of the more common ones.

Uncertain wording

It is vital that in any will the language used is concise, clear and without ambiguity. Without any will writing experience this can be difficult to achieve.  Wording which is capable of alternative interpretation needs to be avoided at all costs. Unclear wording can lead to arguments following someone’s death which in turn leads to unnecessary costs being incurred and possible applications to the court having to be made for a judge to decide what the will ought to have said and/or what was meant.

Instructing an expert will solicitor avoids this.

Undue Influence

Where professionals are not involved there can be often allegations that where a beneficiary or someone related to them has assisted in the preparation of a will undue influence and pressure was exerted and as such the will should be rendered invalid.

This can result in a caveat being entered at the Probate Registry following death to prevent the will from being proved (admitted to probate).

By comparison however, a solicitor who has no vested interest in the estate and who prepares a will, will not only follow good practice and procedure they will also assess the ability of the person making the will to make their own decisions. Solicitors notes will also act as a record as to why any particular thing was done, and evidence can be gathered in order to protect the estate from any misguided claims following death. Claims against estates can be expensive and any such litigation should be avoided at all costs.

DIY Will: Witnesses to the signing

To be valid a will, it must be properly executed which requires that the signature of the person making the will is witnessed by two other people in their presence and in each other’s presence at the same time. This may be more problematical during isolation periods.

The identity of the witness is also important as if any of the witnesses are a spouse or civil partner and a beneficiary under the will, then any gift to that person will fail, effectively meaning the intentions of the person making the will, will be defeated.

Recommendation

Professionally drafted straightforward wills are relatively inexpensive and can be made relatively quickly. With the guidance of a  expert will solicitor, matters can be dealt with efficiently and more importantly legally, thus reducing any concerns about the will’s validity, uncertain wording, witness requirements and/or any claims against the estate.

If you have concerns regarding any of the above matters, then you should always seek expert legal advice before embarking upon making a will.

We can offer a free 30-minute consultation with one of our will solicitors in Chester, Liverpool, Warrington and Wrexham.  If you are interested in discussing matters further then why not get in touch.

Call Us On 01244 893 133 or book a Free 30 Minute Appointment

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