Views and insights from our Private Client team
Homemade wills - worth the risk?
- AuthorJennifer Valentine
A will is one of the most important documents you will ever make, but many people are turning their back on the conventional method of seeing a solicitor and, instead, preparing their own homemade versions.
Although homemade wills are inexpensive, the legal costs involved to remedy any potential errors are likely to significantly exceed the cost of a professionally prepared one. Further, any potential errors could leave you open to a claim against your estate. According to a recent article in the Law Society Gazette, the number of inheritance disputes in the High Court increased from 227 in 2018 to 368 in 2019, and it is believed that this increase is largely fuelled by the use of homemade wills.
What are the dangers of a homemade will?
Just some of the errors seen in homemade wills include incorrectly signing or witnessing, which renders the document invalid; or even a beneficiary compromising their inheritance by acting as a witness. Homemade wills can easily contain even simple mistakes which make them illegitimate or difficult to administer, which could lead to your estate passing to someone you did not intend to benefit, and your loved being in the midst of a dispute with large legal fees to settle.
It is therefore incredibly important to ensure that not only is your will valid, but that it is also kept up to date. Enlisting the help of a professional ensures your will is bespoke to your own personal situation and your wishes are correctly documented. You will also receive advice in relation to any potential claim, the mitigation of inheritance tax, as well as general lifetime planning.
If you are concerned about your will or need general advice on lifetime planning, such as care home fees or lasting powers of attorney, please do not hesitate to get in touch and we will be more than happy to assist.