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What is the best method of writing a will?

Will document with fountain pen on topThere are a number of routes you can take to write up your will, so you may be left wondering which method is the best. When choosing which method you'd like to use to write your will, it's important to ensure that it will be fully effective when you pass. You must make sure that your estate will be correctly passed on to the people that you choose - that is the most important thing to consider and ensure.

It's not uncommon for wills to be incorrectly drawn up and then found to be either invalid, disregarded or ineffective. What will this mean? It'll mean there's a strong possibility that the estate will be treated as though you had died intestate - which means it'll be treated as if no will was in place at all.

Learn more about what will happen to your assets if you don't leave a will.

Writing a homemade will

It is possible to pick up a will pack from most stationery shops or post offices, and these packs enable you to write your own will. These are designed for the most simplest of cases, where no properties are owned and no beneficiaries are under the age of 18 years. Though writing your own will may sound cheap and easy, it's very important to note that even the slightest error or misunderstanding of the legal terms used can cause disputes or even make the will entirely invalid. The will may seem obvious to you, but you will not be there to clarify any misunderstanding or dispute that may be raised between members of your family when the time arrives.

This often results in families spending more money following your death involving a solicitor to help settle the dispute than it would have cost to have the solicitor write the will in the first place.

Some common reasons for why a will may be deemed invalid or ineffective include:

  • The will not being signed or witnessed correctly
  • A witness is also listed as a beneficiary
  • Dependents are left out of the will, leaving it open to challenge
  • Incorrect amendments to a will can be seen as tampering

Using a will writer

The first thing to be aware of is that anybody can set up a company as a will writer and charge for the service. There is currently no industry wide regulation for will writers in place and many complete no more than a few hours training before setting up and claiming to be “experts” at will writing.

There is an urgent call within the industry for regulation of will writers due to the varying nature of training and expertise that is currently available. Plenty of good will writers do exist, but there are also no doubt plenty of will writers that are not as experienced. The less experience may have no in depth knowledge of complexities such as tax planning, trusts and other areas connected with providing trustworthy advice on estate planning. Telling one from the other can be difficult for someone who has no experience at all with will writing.

Many will writers attract business by advertising very competitive rates, and this in itself may often indicate the level of expertise that particular will writer can offer. Will writing companies are also known for being prone to suddenly going out of business, which can potentially cause problems if you had a will stored with them.

Using a solicitor to write your will

Choosing to have a will written is a decision that will have huge implications for your family when you have passed away, and ensuring it's entirely correct and exactly as you want it can offer tremendous peace of mind. All solicitors who offer will writing services have gained professional qualifications and are supervised closely by the Law Society. Solicitors have liability insurance and can offer a wide range of legal knowledge that can cover other associated areas, such as property and tax planning. Many solicitors will also offer additional services of great benefit such as free secure storage of your will.

If you're keen to discuss your will, or feel you would like to learn more about our contentious probate services that can help settle disputes regarding a will, don't hesitate to get in touch with our expert solicitors here at Fonseca Law. You can call us on 01495 303124, e-mail or fill in our online contact form.