The process of writing a will can be emotionally challenging, yet it remains one of the most crucial tasks we undertake to ensure our loved ones are taken care of after our passing. As a will and probate solicitor, I’ve witnessed firsthand the complications and distress that can arise when wills aren’t correctly drafted. Here’s why seeking professional advice when writing a will is so vital.
Navigating the legal nuances
Your solicitor will guide you through the legal formalities that you need to follow in order for your will to be valid. For example, you must:
If your will is technically invalid, even if you think have followed all of the above steps, the law dictates what happens to your estate after your death.
Clarity and Precision:
The language used in your will must be clear and precise. Vague or ambiguous phrasing can lead to disputes, which might require court intervention to resolve.
A solicitor can help you articulate your wishes in a way that is unambiguous, reducing the risk of misinterpretation, and ensuring that your will is executed according to your wishes.
Complex family situations:
Not all family situations are straightforward. If you have children from multiple relationships, are estranged from a spouse or child, or you live in a blended family, you may find writing your own will challenging.
A solicitor can help navigate these intricacies, ensuring that your will truly reflects your wishes, and all potential complications are considered.
Protecting vulnerable beneficiaries:
If you intend to leave assets to a vulnerable individual – for example, your child under the age of 18 – special provisions may be needed to ensure their best interests are met.
Trusts can be set up to protect their inheritance, and a solicitor can advise on the most suitable arrangement.
Addressing all assets:
You may have assets that aren’t immediately obvious – digital assets, overseas properties, or specific investments, for example.
A solicitor can help ensure that all assets, even those you might overlook, are included in your will.
Mitigating tax implications:
Inheritance tax can significantly impact the amount your beneficiaries receive.
By consulting a solicitor, you can discuss potential tax planning strategies, ensuring that your loved ones receive the maximum benefit from your estate.
Regular Updates and Reviews:
If your circumstances change, you will need to update your will. Lots of things can impact your existing will, including marriages, births and deaths. These changes may affect how you wish your assets to be distributed.
Regularly reviewing your will with a solicitor ensures that it remains up to date with your current situation and wishes.
Storage and Accessibility:
Solicitors often offer secure storage solutions for wills, ensuring they’re safe yet accessible when needed. This means that your will can be easily found and actioned upon your death.
Why DIY can be risky
Many people choose to write their will themselves using a will-writing kit or service. However, without professional guidance, there’s a significant risk of omitting crucial details or making errors.
Such mistakes can lead to your will being contested or deemed invalid. It may also leave out some of your assets or result in your assets being distributed incorrectly.
Seeking professional advice
The intricacies of drafting a legally sound, comprehensive will require expertise.
Consulting a solicitor not only guarantees the legal validity of your will but also provides peace of mind, knowing that your assets will be distributed as intended and your loved ones protected.
When considering such a significant document, professional guidance is invaluable.
For advice on how to write your will, please contact our expert team of solicitors.