Cheap may not always be cheerful when it comes to 'Do-It-Yourself' Wills. Whilst you may save yourself the initial cost of making a Will, the risks of getting it wrong can ultimately be costly for your friends and family after your death. This can be even more stressful than not leaving a Will at all.
Do you need a solicitor to make a Will? This question has been thrown into light as 'Beyond', a new Will writing platform allowing people to make their Wills online in just 10 minutes, comes to the forefront.
The process requires you to answer a few questions, print, and sign with two witnesses - easy, right?
With no legal fees or face-to-face meetings in sight, this may seem like the perfect option. However, Solicitors for the Elderly, a national organisation providing specialist advice for the elderly and vulnerable, have warned that the 'Beyond' approach could be open to abuse. It also does not assess someone's mental capacity to write a Will or their eligibility to sign.
Potential users are also warned that the process still has all the accuracy flaws of 'Do-It-Yourself' Wills. Over the years our lawyers have encountered many 'Do-It-Yourself' Wills with a range of mistakes and missing provisions which have caused those loved ones left behind many problems. 'Do-It-Yourself' Wills do not need to contain legal jargon or complicated legal references, but they do need to be specific and accurate. Mistakes such as beneficiaries' names being spelt incorrectly and relationships defined inaccurately can cause unexpected problems.
Angela Ireland, a member of Fosters' own Wills, Trusts and Probate department and member of Solicitors for the Elderly commented, "we very rarely prepare simple Wills for clients, which would be suitable for 'Do-It-Yourself' Wills. As people acquire more property and wealth, and have more complicated family situations, it is essential that they take professional advice from a qualified lawyer when making a Will. From our years of experience in drafting Wills and advising on estate planning, we ensure that your wishes are recorded in a valid document and that you estate passes without complications for your loved ones."
An alternative, relatively low cost option, to 'Do-It-Yourself' Wills is to consider making a Will during the Fosters Charity Will Month in November. This involves making a donation to local charities in lieu of paying for the cost of the Will itself. In November 2017, Fosters was proud to raise over £5,000 for five local charities. Throughout the year Fosters also support Cancer Research UK offering the over 55s a free simple Will in the hope that the Will they make will contains a gift for that charity.
It can be stressful to face your own mortality so, as well as ensuring your Will is legally water-tight, seeking help from a solicitor can be reassuring and reduce the stress, especially when you know you are in experienced hands.
Here at Fosters we have a dedicated team of qualified lawyers to advise you fully on making a Will, tailor made for you and your situation, no matter how complicated it may be. For more information on writing your Will, or to make an appointment with our Solicitors in Norwich, Wymondham or Lowestoft, please call Fosters 01603 620508 or email the team using the website enquiry form.