One of the most important legal documents you should put in place is a Last Will and Testament.
To do this, you can instruct a firm of solicitors, use Will writing experts like ourselves, or you can create your own with a Post Office Will kit.
While a DIY Post Office Will kit seems tempting as you can pick one up at an inexpensive price, they aren’t the best choice for everyone.
We will explain the pros and cons of Post Office Will kits so that you can make the best choice for your circumstances.
What is a Post Office DIY Will kit?
Put simply, DIY Will kits usually contain a Will template for you to complete, along with guidance. Some may have a completed example for you to see.
There are set rules in the UK for Wills to follow, and although Will kits help you to keep to these, they aren’t always 100% effective.
Where can I buy a DIY Post Office Will kit from and how much do they cost?
DIY will kits are available from UK Post Offices, stationery shops and online with prices starting from around £9.99 per will.
While this may seem very cheap, we do advise you strongly to think carefully before choosing this option.
Is a Post Office Will kit legally binding?
You may ask yourself “Is a DIY Will legally binding?” and the short answer is yes, if it has been witnessed and meets all the necessary requirements.
However, if it has been made incorrectly there may be problems further down the line.
Pros and cons of writing a DIY Post Office Will
There are many pros and cons of DIY Post Office Will kits to consider.
- An inexpensive option
- You can pick them up from your local post office, bank or local shop
- A template is provided for the information needed
- DIY Wills should only be used in straightforward situations. For complex life circumstances, such as not being married to your partner, children from a previous relationship, etc., you will need legal advice.
- The ability to personalise your wishes is limited
- There isn’t the opportunity to ask questions or get legal support
- There may be errors which won’t be discovered until it’s too late
- There’s a higher risk of a DIY Will being contested or deemed invalid
What happens if there are mistakes in a DIY Post Office Will?
If your DIY Will contains errors or if the strict witnessing rules are not followed correctly, your Will could be invalid.
This means that with legal bills and unnecessary tax, your legacy could lessen in value which will affect your family financially and emotionally.
According to figures, around 38,000 families a year have a prolonged probate due to poorly drafted or ineffective DIY Wills.
Up to 10% of the value of your estate can end up being absorbed in additional fees due to an incorrect Will.
With the average UK estate at £160,000, this could result in up to £16,000-worth of probate fees.
What are the common mistakes when making a Post Office Will?
- Being unaware of the formal requirements to make a Will legally valid.
- Failing to account for all the money and property available.
- Not considering the possibility of a beneficiary dying before the person making the Will.
- Not thinking of the effect of a marriage, civil partnership, divorce or dissolution of a civil partnership on a Will.
- Not knowing the rules that enable dependents to claim from the estate if they believe they are not adequately provided for.
How can I make a Will without using a DIY Post Office Will kit?
For complete peace of mind when making your Will, we strongly suggest that you use a solicitor or Will writing specialists like ourselves.
The benefits of this are:
- A clear indication of costs from the start.
- Confidential advice in your best interests.
- Your options clearly explained to you.
- Your Will is written according to your instructions and checked thoroughly.
- The law related to inheritance is very complicated, so an expert will do the hard work for you.
Online Will Writing Specialists (such as ELM Legal Services)
If you’re tempted by Post Office Will kits but are worried about making mistakes, then an affordable option is to use a Will writing specialist like ourselves.
Our Wills are legally binding and are written by legal experts to help you avoid any future issues.
We offer legal support while you’re writing your Will, and will check that everything is in order.
As a specialist Wills, Probate & Trusts company, we have already helped over 30,000 clients across England and Wales with their Wills.
We can also store your Will securely for you, so that you do not need to worry about it becoming lost or damaged.
We offer free no-obligation enquiries to ensure you get a personalised service to meet your circumstances.
Are there any other documents I need to make?
When making a Will, it’s a great time to make a Lasting Power of Attorney.
This legal document names the nominated person (the Attorney) you want to make decisions on your behalf, if you are unfortunately hospitalised or receive a long term diagnosis.
Do I need to update my Will?
Any legal documents should always be kept up to date. If you need to change your Will after it has been signed and witnessed, do not do this yourself as it might become invalid.
You will need to either make a new one or add a codicil that amends your Will instead of replacing it.