While it is legal to draft your own Will, any mistakes can have far-reaching effects. A poorly-drafted Will could mean that your loved ones miss out on their inheritance, or even that disagreements arise within your family. This articles if it is a good idea to write your own Will.
A Will has to be drawn up in a particular way for it to be legally sound. It must also be executed and witnessed correctly, otherwise it will not be valid. If there are any ambiguities, this could cause difficulties, particularly if disputes arise.
Your executors are required by law to act in the best interests of your estate. If your Will is contested, this could mean that they would have to engage solicitors to defend the estate from legal action. The cost of this could severely deplete the funds within your estate.
Points to consider when drafting a Will
As well as appointing executors to deal with the administration of your estate, you can also appoint guardians for any children you have who are under 18.
In some circumstances, it will be beneficial to set up a trust in your Will, and in this case you will also need to choose trustees.
It is important to consider how your estate will be passed on in the future to ensure that those whom you want to benefit do not lose out. For example, if you leave your share in your home to your spouse, there is a risk that ultimately the property might have to be sold to fund their care home costs or that it could be left in your spouse’s Will to someone whom you might not have chosen yourself.
To avoid this, you can use your Will to leave your spouse a life interest in your home instead. This means that they can still live there for as long as they want but ultimately your share will pass to your chosen beneficiaries, such as your children.
When drawing up a Will, there are also legitimate ways of minimising the Inheritance Tax that will be payable by your estate which could save a substantial sum.
Challenges to Wills
Ministry of Justice figures have shown a continuing rise in the number of disputes over Wills and estates, known as contentious probate, after someone dies. The Business and Property Court in London heard nearly twice as many cases in 2019 as it did in 2016.
Where a Will has been incorrectly drafted or is ambiguous, those who have been left out may see a chance to challenge the situation in court.
Unfortunately, once a legal case begins it can take a long time to settle and can drain the estate of funds.
Avoiding disputes over a Will
Where a Will has been properly thought-out and correctly drafted, there is far less scope for disagreement. Even if someone believes they should have received more, if the Will is valid and unambiguous, then they are more likely to accept its contents than to try and raise a challenge.
When drawing up a Will, you can talk to an expert about how to structure your estate to ensure that all of your loved ones will be cared for in the way that you would want. This can include putting money or property in trust, providing for children who are under 18 or other dependent relatives and appointing trustees and guardians where necessary.
The best way to ensure that you have a valid Will in place is by instructing a professional to draw this up for you. At Elm Legal Services, we offer a cost-effective service from expert lawyers who will be able to discuss your unique situation with you and draft a bespoke Will that sets out your wishes exactly.
We offer a Will writing from home service, where we can take your instructions via webcam and provide your Will to you at home so that you do not have to attend an office.
We also provide a free, no-obligation enquiry service so that you can ask us any questions you may have and decide whether a bespoke Will is right for you.
Putting a Will in place will give you the reassurance of knowing that you have done all you can to protect and provide for your loved ones.
At Elm Legal Services, our Wills and Trusts experts can discuss your situation with you and draw up a tailor-made Will on your behalf. We can answer any questions you may have and ensure that your Will directs your assets exactly where you want them to go.
If you would like to speak to one of our specialist Wills and Probate lawyers, call us now on 0117 952 0698 or Contact Us and we will be happy to explain the options available to you without obligation.