If you are thinking about writing a Will, you may have considered doing it yourself. Although there are a number of templates and tools available online, along with vast amounts of information about the law and how to go about writing your own Will or using an unqualified service provider, there are significant benefits to using a Solicitor to write your Will and numerous pitfalls of saving costs and doing it any other way!
Here are just five of the many reasons why you should use a Solicitor to draft your Will.
There are a vast array of issues to consider when drafting a Will, not only from the legal perspective but also from a practical one. Most of these issues do not present themselves in a direct way and therefore you would not, yourself, think of needing to address them. Using our experience in the administration of estates, we are able to identify potential issues and ask the relevant questions that allow us to provide comprehensive advice that provides you with a platform to make well informed decisions.
It is our job to look at, consider and plan for the worst case scenario. We have the foresight of potential hurdles, and obstacles because we have a detailed understanding the practical process, as well as the legal and tax issues that are likely to present themselves.
Clients often wonder why we ask so many questions and require such an in depth understanding of your personal circumstances, however, this becomes apparent during the course of our meeting and on receipt of our detailed guidance and letter of advice.
Wills are multi-dimensional documents that are often underestimated in their complexity and effect. We are there to listen to your wishes, understand your intentions and ensure that you make full, informed decisions regarding the passing of your estate.
A Solicitor will work with you to create a comprehensive Will that accurately reflects your estate and your wishes.
A Will is a formal legal document and, as a result, must meet certain legal requirements. While you may have read and understood what these legal requirements are, there are a number of less obvious stipulations that, again, experience with the administration process and in depth understanding of the law, gives us the foresight on.
Unfortunately, many online Will templates and services fail to observe the legal requirements for validity.
Where a Will is not properly drafted or executed, it will be invalid or open to challenge. You can save your loved ones difficulty later on and put your mind at ease by using a Solicitor.
Drafting a Will is complicated. It requires careful wording and a comprehensive understanding as to the meaning of the words used, in order to ensure that your wishes are reflected accurately. Many Will related disputes arise out of unclear wording, but by using a Solicitor you can ensure that your directions are not left open to interpretation.
Solicitors also have access to a large amount of academic resources which allows them to keep up to date with legislation and case law that often dictates the meaning of words that are used to prepare Wills. Solicitors also have the support of an experienced network of peers who are able to discuss and draw on each other’s knowledge and understanding.
Solicitors are also required, by the Solicitor's Regulation Authority, to keep their knowledge and understanding of the area of law in which they practice in, current and supplemented. This is not an obligation that is required of other unregulated Will writing services and therefore there is a risk that the advice you receive, and the Will that is drafted for you, is not up to date and as a consequence does not achieve the intention.
If you have complicated finances, or you have even a slightly more complex family structure, there are a number of factors that must be considered when drafting a Will. Experience in administering estates and the practical and legal issues that often arise is imperative when deciding how best to draft a Will.
A Solicitor also has the experience and knowledge to advise in respect of tax and can offer advice in relation to lifetime tax planning as part of the Will writing service.
Drafting a Will to provide for stepchildren, for example, can be complicated and an in depth knowledge of the law is required to understand the potential pitfalls.
Ignorance of the law could mean that you end up unintentionally leaving those closest to you with nothing, contrary to your intentions.
As already discussed, writing a Will is about more than just setting out where your property will go. With the specialist skill and knowledge of a Solicitor, you can also plan to mitigate your Inheritance Tax liability, allowing you to maximise that which you leave behind for your loved ones.
Similarly, when making a Will, you are planning for the eventuality of your death, and it often becomes clear that it is just as important, if not more, to plan for the unexpected that may occur during your lifetime. For this reason, many people choose to make Lasting Powers of Attorney at this stage also. A solicitor can guide you through the numerous pitfalls and risks in drafting Lasting Powers of Attorney, to ensure that the documents are valid and allow your Attorneys to act for as you intended, if and when the time comes.
Lasting Powers of Attorney enable your chosen and most trusted individuals to provide you with the support you need when you become either physically or mentally incapable of managing your affairs. Properly drafted Lasting Powers of Attorney afford you the peace of mind that, should anything happen to you preventing you from looking after yourself, you, your affairs and your loved ones who might be dependent on you, will be taken care of in accordance with your wishes - with your best interests in mind.
Our friendly and experienced Private Client team are on hand to advise on any issues relating to Wills and lifetime planning. Please telephone 01892 526344 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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If suitable, we can offer an initial one hour appointment with a solicitor for a fixed cost of £100 + VAT, giving you the opportunity to discuss your matter and consider your options. This can be in person, via telephone or video link. Please get in touch if you feel this type of appointment would be beneficial.
The contents of this article are for the purposes of general awareness only. They do not purport to constitute legal or professional advice. The law may have changed since this article was published. Readers should not act on the basis of the information included and should take appropriate professional advice upon their own particular circumstances.