In times of recession it’s fair to say that everyone is looking to save a few pence here, a few pounds there, in order to make finances a little easier on the pocket. However, when you make a Will is it really worth trying to save a pound or two when an invalid Will could end up costing your loved ones hundreds, thousands or even more?
Compared to a lot of legal work, making a Will is normally comparatively inexpensive and it is frequently a matter where the client receives the most value in terms of time engaged for the cost quoted. Most firms such as ourselves operate on a fixed costs basis regardless of the complexity of a client’s instructions and for that the client receives the complete matter from start to finish including all advice, correspondence, telephone calls etc that are required right up to the day when the Will is signed. With this arrangement the client has the peace of mind that all the legal execution and validity requirements of a Will are adhered to, and the guarantee that the instructions will be interpreted and expressed, as the client desires.
Common mistakes involved when a do-it-yourself Will is produced, involve the process by which the document is executed. One such example involves the need for two witnesses to witness the signing of the Will, and for these individuals to be independent and unrelated to the person signing. The use of the word “independent” is crucially important as it means a person is incapable of being a witness if they benefit from the provisions included within the Will in any way. If a person did believe incorrectly that they were capable of being a witness in this situation the whole Will could be proved invalid. For example if you were planning to leave your whole Estate to your wife but you then get her to witness your Will, she will not get anything.
In light of the above, one needs to ask themselves whether this really is a risk worth taking? In the modern family arrangement that exists today, many people have stepchildren they wish to provide for, partners or even dear friends that they treat above any family. All these parties would stand to miss out through an invalid Will as the Law of Intestacy only provides for family members to take the estate of a deceased. The difference in value is frequently vast between the cost of making a Will with a solicitor and the value of a person’s assets. Is it worth jeopardising the destination of your house, savings, shares, etc. for the sake of a few pounds now? ~ Definitely a question worth considering.