For various reasons, the popularity of ‘DIY’ will packs has grown significantly over the past few decades. Their philosophy is simple, and appeals to many of us: don’t make a song-and-dance over creating your will by visiting a professional and poring over details, simply fill-in the blanks and get it over with quickly.
Unfortunately, where these DIY wills fall short is in their ability to marry simplicity with complexity, for writing a sound and legitimate will is far more complicated than many of us realise.
And, sadly, many people remain unaware of the pitfalls of these homemade wills. These documents are completed, put to one side, and only reviewed by a legal professional after the death of the testator – making it impossible for the writer to make any amendments to protect their family’s future.
Here are some of the main reasons why your DIY will could cause trouble down the line.
It Only Takes a Minor Mistake to Render it Invalid
Wills are only useful when they’re written according to some strict stipulations, intended to protect all of us from fraud or coercion, and to ensure that there is no room for uncertainty.
While it may seem small to us, even relatively basic clerical errors are enough to cast a will into doubt. A single mistake committed during the witnessing, for instance, may well lead to some serious complications for your loved ones in the future.
It May Not Be as Helpful as You Think
Even if your will is technically perfect, that’s a far cry from it being as valuable to your loved ones as it really could be.
There is, after all, an art to properly planning an estate. From planning trusts to ensuring tax efficiency, there are a number of elements in any strong will, and many are things that you will struggle to get right on your own.
It Could Easily be Misinterpreted without Watertight Wording
The way we communicate in real life is very different to the ways in which legal professionals communicate through official documents, and, without experience in this area, it would be all too easy for you to phrase something in a way that holds a particular (and conflicting) meaning in the eyes of the law.
This could leave your will open to interpretation, rendering it either invalid or open to contest by experienced will dispute solicitors, or leading to a conclusion you never wished for.
You Might Forget to Include an Important Detail
It doesn’t come naturally to any of us to make arrangements for our own estates. From your bank accounts to property, pets, and children, to our digital and offshore assets and any plans for the funeral, compiling everything together within one clear, unassailable document is incredibly difficult without the help of a solicitor – and, unfortunately, any mistakes will cost your loved one’s dearly.