DIY Wills

We are professional Will writers. However, we accept that if your requirements are uncomplicated you may decide to create a “DIY” Will. But please be careful. Here is an example of a “DIY” Will that could, indeed would, have gone horribly wrong. (We have changed the names of those involved).

Mr Smith had created a “DIY” Will as follows:

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I appoint my son Fred Smith and my daughter in law Jane Smith to be my executors.

I give my estate to Fred and Jane and their children in equal shares.

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On the face of it this seems uncomplicated. It seems that Mr Smith wants Fred and Jane to receive 50% of his estate and the two children of Fred and Jane’s marriage being Charlotte and Dawn to receive 50%.

However, Fred has one child being Andrew from a previous relationship and Jane has one child being Belinda from a previous marriage.

Who gets what?

Does Fred and Jane receive 50% and Charlotte and Dawn receive 50%.

Does Fred receive one third and Jane receive one third and their children being Charlotte and Dawn receive one third between them?

Does Fred receive 25%, Jane receive 25%, Charlotte receive 25% and Dawn receive 25%?

Does Fred receive one sixth, Jane receive one sixth, Andrew receive one sixth, Belinda receive one sixth, Charlotte receive one sixth and Dawn receive one sixth?

Do Fred and Jane share 50% and do the four children share 50%?

In this case Mr Smith was able to tell us what he intended, and he agreed for us to create a professionally drafted Will. During the meeting our Consultant found out that Dawn was a vulnerable person receiving state benefits. We, therefore, included a trust in the Will so that Dawn could receive funds from the trust without affecting her state benefits. The state benefits would have been lost if Dawn’s share had be distributed directly to her.

But if Mr Smith had died before we had become involved who would have received what? And would anyone have actually known what Mr Smith wanted? There is a cost to creating a professionally drafted Will. However, the cost will almost certainly be less than the cost involved in resolving an ambiguous “DIY” Will.

If you would like to meet one of our Consultants and discuss any of the issues raised in this article or any other Estate Planning topic, please telephone 01732 868190 or click here.

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