A Will is one of the most important documents you will ever make but an increasing number of people are preparing homemade Wills, possibly in an attempt to cut costs. However, although DIY Wills could be relatively inexpensive, the legal costs involved to remedy their potential errors may well exceed the cost of a professionally prepared Will. Moreover, it may not be possible to rectify mistakes that are discovered after your death.
What are the dangers of a DIY Will?
Off-the-shelf DIY Will kits are often poorly completed, leading to confusion over what assets have been left and to whom. Common errors that can occur in the process of making a DIY Will include incorrectly signing or witnessing the Will, which renders the document invalid. Furthermore, a beneficiary can compromise their inheritance by acting as a witness. Even if you successfully avoid these pitfalls and create a valid document using a homemade Will, there is always the possibility that your Will cannot be located when it is needed. By using a regulated Law Firm, not only can you be certain your Will contains your exact wishes and instructions, you can be confident your Will will be stored safely. Most law firms will allow you to store your Will in their strong room free of charge.
Are there any risks involved using a Will-writing firm?
If you choose to use a Will-writing firm over a solicitors’ firm, make sure it is regulated. A recent case in which an unregulated Will-writer was jailed for 14 months after fraudulently charging clients to fix a non-existent problem with their Wills, highlights the dangers of using an unregulated body. The cost of a professionally written Will includes the advice given by a solicitor, who is subject to regulation by the Solicitors Regulation Authority, unlike many Will-writers who are not legally qualified or governed by regulation.
Further, there are possible hidden charges that could apply if your Will is retained by the Will-writing firm. Some such firms have dissolved without trace.
Who is at risk?
Everyone is at risk of being persuaded by salesmen offering to write Wills at low prices but then to establish Trusts at greater costs which may be unnecessary. It is the elderly who are frequently targeted by Will-writing companies who often apply high pressure selling techniques.
Do not be tempted to cut corners when it comes to writing your Will. Doing so could result in high legal costs or, at worst, an invalid Will. Seek the help of regulated solicitors and relax with the peace of mind that your wishes will be carried out.