We probably all realise that we need to make a Will to make sure that our money and property passes to our nearest and dearest, but is it really necessary to see a Solicitor and pay their fees or can we just make a Will using a form from the internet or simply write out what we want to happen?
As a Solicitor I am bound to say everybody should use a Solicitor to make their Will but to show you why I’ll explain about a client I saw recently.
I met Mr Smith following the death of his sister Sandra and he produced Sandra’s ‘Will’ to me. It was a handwritten ‘Will’ which I was told had been written and signed by his sister in a hurry when she had been feeling unwell. Whilst the Will wasn’t exactly written in the way I would have written it, on the face of it all the legal requirements were met; the will was in writing, it was signed and there were two witness signatures. However, as the ‘Will’ was handmade and didn’t contain some of the legal wording Solicitor’s include we needed to obtain statements from the people who had signed to witness the ‘Will’ to make sure all of the legal formalities had been complied with. This incurred legal charges which were actually more than the Will would have cost if a Solicitor at Farleys had prepared it.
The situation then became a lot worse. As we took the statements it became apparent that the witnesses were not actually present at the time the ‘Will’ was signed. This meant that the document which looked like a Will, unfortunately was not actually a legally binding Will. As a result Sandra’s estranged son became the sole beneficiary of the Estate, not her brother, the person named in the ‘Will’. The witnesses were adamant that this was not Sandra’s wish but unfortunately as they weren’t present when the ‘Will’ was signed the ‘Will’ had no effect and it was treated as though she had died with no Will.
If you choose to make your own Will there are many things that can go wrong which can lead to consequences such as increased costs upon your death, unexpected outcomes, or in the most extreme cases, that the Will is not valid at all.
Farleys can prepare a Will for you and there are low fixed costs if your Will is straightforward. This will ensure that your Will is a legally binding document and that your loved ones are protected when you are gone.