How is it that a will scribbled on the back on a napkin can be valid, but a beautifully scripted will on the finest of hand crafted papers can be worthless?

On more than one occasion I have helped newly bereaved family members who bring to me wills that were made by their loved one by themselves, at home, with no professional advice or drafting.

The rules for making a will in England are, quite rightly, straightforward.  So straightforward that it is possible to make your own will on the back of an envelope in a matter of minutes.

However, there are certain formalities that need to be adhered to.

So often it turns out that the ‘will’ in question is no more than a letter to relatives with what they would wish to happen.  Even heading the paper ‘My Will’ does not ensure that those wishes will come into effect.  Often this can lead to results that seem unjust, or, most importantly, do not reflect the wishes of the person who has died.

It is always a challenging part of my job to advise a client that the will that they hold is not valid.  I have seen wills that were witnessed incorrectly, or not witnessed at all.  Sometimes a will disposes of certain assets but then there is no residuary beneficiary – creating a partial intestacy.

A Solicitor will ensure that your will is drafted and witnessed correctly so as to ensure its validity.

Other benefits to using a solicitor are to ensure that you are receiving the most up to date inheritance tax planning advice.  Solutions may be offered that an individual at home on their own would not even know about – would an individual know that their relatives could benefit from a certain Trust clause in the will?  Solicitors offer a wealth of advice and experience.

A professionally drawn up Will will give you peace of mind that your wishes will be carried out.

If you would like to discuss making a will, please call to arrange an appointment with a member of our Lifetime Planning Team.