Why can’t I just write my own will?
When it comes to writing a will, there are a few options. You can have it prepared professionally by a solicitor, you can use an online will service, or you can try to save a bit of money and do it yourself.
Whilst it is possible to write your own will, either completely independently, or using a DIY will template – this is a very risky process, and for the majority of people, simply isn’t the right way to go.
In this post, we take a look at the risks and downsides of writing your own will, before looking at the benefits of having your will written professionally by a solicitor you trust
The number one reason that people attempt to write their own wills is price.
It’s true that writing your own will is the cheapest option available, but whilst you could save a few pounds in the short term, it could end up costing your beneficiaries, and impact significantly on the value of the estate you leave behind.
Having your will written professionally by a solicitor could deliver significant long-term financial benefits for your beneficiaries – helping them to reduce inheritance tax obligations, and maximising the wealth you leave behind.
The way it’s written
When solicitors write wills, they use specific language and terms that have been developed to minimise confusion, and to help ensure that your wishes are followed in the event of your death.
The risk when writing your own will is that you end up using ambiguous terms, the wrong wording or making mistakes, which can mean that your instructions aren’t followed. Get things really wrong, and you might even invalidate the whole will, meaning that your assets have to be divided up in ways you never wanted or envisaged.
Having a solicitor write your will using tried and tested terminology and the accepted structure will help to ensure that your wishes are followed, minimising confusion and reducing the chance for family conflict or disagreements after your death.
You’ll also be protected should things go wrong. Solicitors are regulated, and have rigorous checking systems in place to minimise the risks of mistakes – giving you the confidence and peace of mind that comes from knowing you’ve set out your instructions in the right way.
Understanding the system
One of the inherent downsides of writing your own will is that, unless you have legal training or professional experience in writing wills, you won’t have the in-depth understanding of all the relevant regulations or conventions. This means you may be missing out on potential opportunities to maximise your wealth for future generations.
The laws surrounding inheritance tax, trusts and estates are complex, and an experienced solicitor will be able to help you write your will in a way that makes best advantage of any tax planning opportunities.
A solicitor will be able to provide you with expert guidance and honest advice on whether your wishes are likely to be followed, whilst minimising the risk of people being able to challenge your will in the event they disagree with your instructions.
The benefits of a professional will
Ultimately, having your will prepared professionally will deliver a huge range of benefits over writing your own in terms of:
- Quality – a professional, valid will that’s tailored to you
- Clarity – clearly setting out instructions to ensure they are followed
- Accuracy – minimising the risks of mistakes that could render your will invalid
- Security – professional storage of your will in a secure environment
- Value – minimising inheritance tax and maximising the value of your estate
Everything you wanted to know about wills and more
Want to know more about writing a will? Have questions about any aspect of wills, inheritance and probate, and need answers fast?