Wills and estates can be one of the most complex areas of law. Preparing a will in place is just one component in the estate planning process, nevertheless, it is an important one.
People are often tempted to cut costs by writing their own will. While there are will kits available that enable you to draft a simple will, these will kits may in fact expose you to certain risks and potential problems.
Instead, a wills and estates lawyer will be able to help. A suitably qualified lawyer will know exactly what needs to be done to ensure your will is legally valid and binding, avoiding (or minimising) the risk of an estate dispute.
Problems that arise from writing your own will
There are various issues that can arise when you decide to write your own will. One of the most common is that the will can be misinterpreted, especially if you’re not aware of the technical terminology that needs to be used to make your will valid and your intentions explicit. Even the slightest of errors (such as a misspelt name) can cause confusion or uncertainty which could potentially lead to a dispute down the line.
There’s also the problem of making sure your will is legally binding. Wills must be executed in a particular way (signed by the testator and witnessed by at least two people, who are also required to provide their names and addresses). There are very specific requirements when it comes to signing a will, which you might not be aware of if you decide to do it yourself.
All these difficulties can create a significant emotional burden on your friends and family following your death – leaving aside, for the time being, the fact that your intended beneficiaries may not be able to enforce your wishes. It is already likely to be an emotionally stressful time, only made worse by the fact that your will might not be valid, or that an estate dispute may arise.