Having a poorly written will is often as bad as having no will at all, but what are the risks of doing it yourself when it comes to
writing down your last wishes?
Spend five minutes online and you’ll see how easy and cheap it is to purchase a will making kit; Amazon sells them from as little as £3.99 and W H
Smith from £9.99. But whilst these kits may appear to offer a simpler and quicker way to write a will, there are dangers. Badly written DIY wills and the resulting probate problems impact an
estimated 38,000 families a year.
So what are the most common mistakes people make when writing their own wills? Misspelling names is one, as is failing to get the will properly
witnessed and to sign it correctly. These things are seemingly small but, when the time comes for the will to fulfil its duty, they cannot easily be rectified. Another danger is that
people don’t do their research before they fill in ‘off the shelf’ wills. Changes made later to a will are only valid if signed and witnessed.
“You need to consider the true cost of a D.I.Y will,” explains Phil Taylor from Anglian Will Writing. “It may seem like the cheaper option at the
time, but the mistakes made can cost a fortune. A professional will writer will be able to explain all the intricacies of the process to you, and spot any issues before they have an impact. It’s a
guarantee that your wishes will be carried out exactly as you’ve asked.”
That’s why, when it comes to will writing, Citizens Advice recommends using a professional in all but the most straightforward of situations (a
childless man who wants to leave everything to his wife, for example). The organisation’s website states: “Sorting out misunderstandings after your death may result in considerable legal costs, which
will reduce the amount of money in the estate.”
Having a will written by a professional can start from as little as £95 (plus VAT) for a single will, so is it really worth risking the
consequences of your estate, just to make a little saving?