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9 Common Mistakes in DIY Will Writing

It’s important to have a complete and up to date will. During the pandemic, it seems many people realised that fact, with research showing an increase in will writing over recent months.

This does not constitute advice and advice should be sought in all instances before acting on it.

deVere Group reported a 76% surge in will creation requests as the COVID-19 pandemic loomed over the country. 

It might be tempting to do it yourself, but creating a will can be a tricky business and there are cost-effective solutions to help you get it done professionally. Here are common mistakes people make when attempting to do it all on their own.

1. Improperly witnessed

You can make quite a few mistakes when it comes to having witnesses for your will. You’ll need it signed in the presence of two independent witnesses that are UK citizens over 18 years old. They must also not be anyone that is included in the will as a beneficiary or married to someone who is so partners and children can’t be a witness.

2. Having an out of date will

Every major life event should signal the need to draw up a new will. The birth of children or grandchildren, adding to your family with stepchildren, marriage or divorce, the loss of a loved one, and purchasing a home will all require the creation of a new will to ensure all of your assets are bequeathed to the right beneficiaries.

3. Forgetting assets

Your obvious assets are usually easily remembered and included in your will. But many forget to include intangible assets like bank accounts, premium bonds, or shares, sometimes even air miles and loyalty points are eligible to be passed down. Take a full inventory of anything you might want to leave to specific family members or loved ones to ensure you include them in your will.

4. Making changes after it’s been signed

A will can’t be amended after it’s been signed. To make any changes after the fact you’ll need to set up a codicil — an official document used to make minor amendments to your will (but will still need to be witnessed exactly the same way). You can create an unlimited number of codicils, but as they’re meant for small changes, if you do need to change anything significant, it’s best to generate a completely new will.

5. Being too specific

Sometimes you’d like to pass down property or a certain possession like a boat or a car to a loved one, but you might upgrade your assets and don’t want to have to update your will just to swap out one model of car for another, for example. So be careful to use language that describes what you’re passing down in terms that are more generalised than specific.

6. Lacking full capacity

You’ll need to be of sound mind when creating the will, otherwise, you run the risk of disputes arising as to whether or not the will is valid.

7. Not keeping originals

Original copies of your documents must be kept with your executors or they won’t be able to legally administer your estate. Originals are required to secure grant of probate to manage your affairs.

8. Missing tax planning opportunities

Failing to identify tax planning opportunities which can result in the estate paying unnecessary inheritance tax. A solicitor will be able to provide inheritance tax advice which could save the estate on inheritance tax.

9. Incorrect gifting of assets

Gifting assets away that will automatically pass by survivorship. e.g funds in a joint bank account. A solicitor would be able to assist you in ensuring that you have the legal right to make the gifts you wish to make in your will or offer possible solutions if you are unable to do so.

It might seem easy to do a will yourself, but it’s a legally binding document. It’s always best to involve a professional to ensure everything is done correctly to avoid the possibility of accidentally disinheriting someone or worse, voiding the will entirely.

A professional will writing service will ensure you have nothing to worry about when it comes to providing for your loved ones after you’re gone.

Wills are complex documents and it’s important to get them done correctly. If your language leaves anything up for interpretation your will could possibly be invalidated. They’ll also ensure nothing is left out and everything goes according to plan.

Special offer

We’re pleased to let you know about a special promotion for Dental & Medical Financial Services’ clients on simple wills from Hodders Solicitors.*

* By clicking the link, you are now departing from the regulatory website of Dental & Medical Financial Services. Dental & Medical Financial Services is not responsible for the accuracy of the information contained within the linked site.

For a limited time, for £99 plus VAT for a single simple will and £175 plus VAT for a double simple will, you can make certain your family is prepared for life after you.

So, if it’s time to write or review your will, contact us to see how we can help.

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