Wills And Estate Management: If You Have An Expensive Car, You Don’t Give It To Your Neighbour To Service – You Take It To A Dealer Or A Garage To Get Done Properly.

Is it always necessary to get your Will drafted by a qualified solicitor?

Well, the simple answer is no – you can do it yourself if you so choose. Anyone aged 18 or over, with the mental capacity to do so, can write their own valid will. All that is required is that the Will must be dated and witnessed correctly and state that it replaces all previous versions.

Is it advisable to consult a solicitor?

Well, the simple answer to that is, yes, it is. That’s the advice that Harold Stock & Co always gives to clients because self-written Wills are only really appropriate for the simplest of cases where everything is straightforward. Sadly as many of us know to our cost, few things in life, or in death, are ever that straightforward. We know from experience that inheritances can be extremely complex matters and that one size can never fit all. A generous bequest made today can often cause financial problems down the line for the remaining family members.

Our belief that Wills should only be drawn up by experienced professionals has received the full backing of the Law Society, which is also cautious about DIY Wills. A Law Society spokesman, Jonathan Smithers, said:

“If you have an expensive car, you don’t give it to your neighbour to service: you take it to a dealer or a garage to get done properly. [Writing a Will properly] is about making sure that your assets are left to your nearest and dearest,” he added.

He also warned that there is no way of checking that a Will written by an unsupervised individual has been drafted correctly. Although there are other low-cost alternatives available, like online Will templates that can be purchased in stationery stores, Mr Smithers warned that these, too, do not have any cross-checking from a professional.

If you are considering writing your own Will, we believe you should ask yourself one simple question: do you feel confident enough in your abilities and understanding of the legal process to draft your own Will? The chances are most of us wouldn’t be. Our experience with probate tells us that simple scenarios in estate management are few and far between. There are inevitably going to be complications or disputes when it comes to property and assets complications and disputes like:

  • Where you share a property with someone who is not your husband, wife or civil partner.
  • Where you wish to make provision for a dependant who is unable to care for themselves.
  • Where there are several family members who may make a claim on the will, for example, a second wife or children from a first marriage.
  • Where your permanent home is not in the United Kingdom.
  • Where you are a domiciled resident, but there is overseas property involved in the Will.
  • Where there is a business involved.
  • Where the estate is likely to exceed the inheritance tax threshold.
  • Where consideration needs to be given to trusts which could protect your property from future charges.
  • Where consideration needs to be given towards the effects of future inheritance.
  • Where consideration needs to be given towards Powers of Attorney.
  • Where there are likely to be issues and concerns about life policies.
  • Where there may need to be some thought given to the issues of guardianship if there are likely to be dependent children left behind.
  • Where decisions will need to be made about making monies available to the guardians of these dependent children.

Harold Stock & Co’s advice is simply this: make a Will as soon as you possibly can and have it drawn up by a professional. That will safeguard the future interests of your family, ensure that your affairs are in order and give you the sort of peace of mind that money cannot buy.

For further help or information about Wills and estate management, contact Harold Stock & Co Solicitors on 01457 835597 or email info@haroldstock.com.

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