The pitfalls of writing a do-it-yourself Will

The number of people creating Wills is (slowly) on the rise. One way to create a Will is to write it yourself. However, if you do decide to create a DIY Will there are a lot of pitfalls. It is necessary to make sure that any phrase you use cannot be ambiguous.

Here are some examples:

  • I leave my estate to Cancer Research. The problem here is that there are 84 charities with the words “Cancer Research” in their title.
  • I leave one thousand pounds to each of my grandchildren. What I do not realise is that the stepchildren of my children are not my grandchildren even if I treat them as if they are.
  • I leave my estate to my cousin John Smith. After I die my executors find I have two cousins called John Smith.
  • I leave my estate to my son John and my daughter-in-law Jean and their children in equal shares. John has a child from a previous relationship, Jean has a child from a previous relationship and John and Jean have three children together. Does John get a third, Jean get a third and all the children get a third split between them? Or does everyone get one seventh? Perhaps John gets one fifth, Jean gets one fifth and the three children they have together get one fifth each.
  • I give £10,000.00 to the President of my local golf club. Who receives the gift? The President when I wrote my Will or the President when I died? Is the gift for the President personally or for the golf club itself? Which golf club? I played at one when I wrote my Will but another one when I died.
  • One of our Consultants has seen a handwritten Will that stated, “I leave ten thousand to my friend …..”. Unfortunately, the person creating their own DIY Will had forgotten to include the word “pounds” so the gift would have failed.

Here at Casey & Associates we have developed systems to reduce the risk of a Will being ambiguous to almost zero. Each Will is created by person A, checked by person B and then audited by person C. We do everything possible to make sure that there are no ambiguities.

Wills can be rejected by the Probate Service if the pages are not attached correctly. Furthermore, the person signing the Will and the witnesses must follow a strict procedure.

It is very upsetting for a family if a Will is held up in Probate (or even worse if it is declared not to be valid). We specialise in creating Wills (as well as Lasting Powers of Attorney and trusts) and hope that you will agree that it is prudent to arrange for a specialist to write your Will for you.

Your Will is one of the most important documents you will ever create. Why risk a problem? If you are thinking of creating a new Will or updating an existing Will please click here to arrange an appointment for one of our consultants to visit you. We do not charge for an appointment. Furthermore, depending on your circumstances we may be able to write a Will that saves you some Inheritance Tax.

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