31 May Do I need a Solicitor to make a Will?
Find out why it is important to seek professional advice when planning what happens to your estate.
A badly drafted clause could mean your wishes aren’t carried out as you intended, meaning it could cost your beneficiaries in the future should your Will is left open to challenge.
Although you don’t legally require a Solicitor to make your own Will, there are plenty of reasons why it’s advisable to involve a Solicitor when deciding what happens to your estate upon your death. It’s easy to make mistakes and oversights when formulating a Will, or to use language that’s open to misinterpretation that could cost your family a lot of money and heartache to sort out.
This is why if your Will is more complicated, then it’s definitely worth having it drafted by a professional.
Do I need a Solicitor to make a Will?
If you have a run-of-the-mill estate that you want to leave to your spouse or share between your children, that is classed as a straightforward Will. Anything out of the ordinary can make it that little bit more complicated.
Factors that may complicate drafting a Will
There are different factors that can make it more complicated when drafting a Will that could benefit from a specialist Wills solicitor.
If you share ownership of property with someone to whom you are not married or in a civil partnership
This will add a significant complication and is quite a common occurrence. It could simply be a lifelong partner who you’ve never married, but under the law, that partner will be treated differently to a husband, wife, or civil partner.
If you have a dependant who is unable to care for themselves
This would necessitate careful drafting of a Will to ensure they’ll be provided for in the best way possible. Then there are others who may make a claim on a Will, such as a past spouse, or children from different marriages.
If you own overseas property or a business
Another common complication that would benefit from the use of a Solicitor is if you live abroad or own any overseas property. Ownership of a business also requires special attention to ensure an efficient transfer to the beneficiary with no mistakes.
Common mistakes arising from a poorly written Will
There are plenty of common mistakes and omissions that can arise from an incorrectly drafted Will. Indeed, not being aware of the formal requirements that make a Will valid is critical, because if these aren’t met it is legally powerless.
Missing key items of property or assets off the Will?
In these cases it can take a lot of legal legwork to sort out ownership after your death. If these mistakes are spotted while you’re still alive, they can be added into a well-drafted Will quite easily.
Not considering possibilities of your death, if one of your beneficiaries dies before you or at the same time.
This is particularly important if your main beneficiaries are a partner or close relative, who may be killed alongside you in an accident. What happens then?
Not being aware of the effect of marriage, civil partnership and divorce on a Will
If your nearest and dearest are not bound to you by blood or by law, they have no legal rights if your Will is invalid for any reason. This could mean that your grasping former spouse, to whom you’re still legally married, could inherit everything and leave your much loved current partner with nothing.
Using a specialist Wills Solicitor
Where instructions are less straightforward or if you have a chargeable estate for inheritance tax, we strongly advise you use a Solicitor to draft your Will.
Solicitors can explain the rules that enable dependents to challenge a Will clearly when they feel it does not adequately provide for them.