There are some things in life that have to be done properly and writing a Will is one of those things. In fact, it will be one of the most important documents that you ever sign. This is down to the fact that it will lay out all of your final wishes that relate to your estate. It will also inform your family and friends of your last wishes and what was important to you, such as looking after your family financially, giving gifts and supporting any charities that were close to your heart.
There is a very real risk that comes with creating a homemade Will as it could lead to your wishes not being met when you pass away as many homemade Wills are found to be invalid. Often, many people choose to create a homemade Will to save money but it could have the opposite effect which will cause problems and expense for those who you leave behind. At a time that is already difficult for them a homemade Will could make things harder.
If you have unknowingly created a Will that is invalid, and you have no earlier Will that is Valid, it will lead to intestacy which means that your estate will be distributed in a way that adheres to the rules implemented by law. As a result, it could mean that your whole estate falls into the hands of people you do not know, did not like or wouldn’t have wanted to inherit.
In reality, there are many ways in which you can make your Will invalid and that list is rather extensive but understanding a few of them will make you realise that a homemade Will is often not the best choice and is not worth the risk. Creating a legally binding Will is relatively inexpensive compared to the cost that be incurred where a Will is written incorrectly.
So, one of the simplest ways to get things wrong is at the point where you sign the Will. There are strict rules in place that have to be followed, rules that are well established and they control just how a Will should be signed. These rules are set out in legislation and the Probate Court will not accept any document that does not adhere to them.
It is possible to prepare your Will at home and you might think that calling on your family to witness the signing of your Will is the right thing to do but it isn’t. By choosing to do this you might have disinherited them from your estate. Even if the husband or wife of one of your beneficiaries witnesses your Will it means the gift to them fails.
There is a real risk that when you create a Will at home, that you have not received the right advice that you would receive from a professional. For example, you will need to ensure your estate is protected from claims under the Inheritance Provision for Family and Dependants Act 1976 as far as possible as well as ensuring your Will is written in a way that makes the most of any tax exemptions or planning that may be available to ensure you do not pay more Inheritance Tax on your estate than you need to.
It is clear to see that creating a Will at home carries some significant risks so you should make sure that you seek the correct advice and create a Will that is valid and legal but more importantly, takes care of your loved ones when you pass. If you are going to the trouble of documenting your last wishes ensure you do so in a way that ensures they will be carried out.