A quick Google search will provide you with many options for this and a ‘DIY’ or “home-made or Online Wills” Will can seem like a simple and inexpensive solution. After all, you can purchase a DIY Will kit for as little as a £20 from WHSmith!
The pitfalls for a DIY Will are:-
1. Wills not witnessed correctly – this renders a Will completely invalid and your wishes won’t be carried out. You will be deemed to have died without a Will. I have seen, where the ‘wrong’ people witness a Will, making the intentions of the Will void.
2. The Will not actually covering all the assets in the estate – this creates a problem because the parts of the estate not covered pass as though you didn’t have a Will and could pass to someone you didn’t intend it to.
3. Assets being incorrectly described, such as “my Prudential Insurance Policy”, when in fact the policy was an “assurance” policy or “my Midland bank account” when The Midland Bank had long since become part of HSBC. Such gifts could fail and your intended beneficiary may not receive them. What if the bank you have your money in now, changes it’s name in twenty years time.
4. No consideration of what happens if a beneficiary dies before you – Wording used such as “I give £2,000 to Jane William” could leave confusion. Was the intention Jane should receive £2,000 if she was alive at your death only or did you want the gift to pass to her family if she died before you?
5. Later amendments written on top of the original Will – such amendments may not be valid.
6. The consequences of nursing home care fees or inheritance tax not being considered – meaning your estate could be eroded to pay for care or a larger inheritance tax bill might be payable by your family.
7. Considering who is to look after your young children if you were to die – this is a complicated area, who are you going to appoint as a guardian, what will there legal duties or what consideration will you give if they can no longer care for your children. What are the legal consequences for when your children can inherit your estate.
8. Ring fencing your estate so your children are guaranteed to inherit instead of it being diluted by your spouse’s new partner or your spouse’s future children – did you know most people leave their estate to their spouse with the intention of it being inherited by their children. What if your spouse was to get married again and leaves everything to his/her new spouse. What if your spouse has more children? Your estate will be diluted and your children receive a fraction of what your estate.
Please contact me on [email protected] or 0207 041 6069 to find out how I can best help you protect your family and your assets.