Let’s face it; making a Will is not something that you want to think about.
Dying, however, is an inevitable part of life, and I think we can all agree that having a Will is better than no Will at all.
With so many options available to you when deciding to make a Will, where do you go to make one? It may look like a minefield out there as making a will is an unregulated legal activity. This means that you could use a pack from a stationery shop, make your will online, or you could speak to someone in person, with a considerable number of options within each of those categories!
So which one do you choose?
There is honestly no right or wrong answer, and it will very much depend upon your budget, the complexity of your family circumstances, the value of your estate and your confidence in completing an online form. This article aims to guide you through some of the available options that you can enter, the minefield of, Will making fully armed.
Using a Will pack
This is probably the simplest way of making a Will. Usually purchased from a stationery shop you are given a blank document with basic information to ensure that your will is executed correctly. You then need to write your wishes down in your own words.
While this is very simple to do, using your own wording can be very dangerous and can lead to unintended consequences. The inclusion or omission of even the most innocuous of words may invalidate the gifts in your Will.
Using an online Will service
Using an online Will service is convenient and allows you to prepare your will when it suits you. An online will has a considerable advantage over a more traditional DIY Wills as the document is prepared based on a series of yes/no questions.
While this removes most of the issues with the actual wording of the will, as the system produces the document for you, the online will is only as good as the responses which you provide. If you don’t understand a particular question or if you provide an incomplete answer, problems may occur. Most online Will providers do offer a service where they will sense check your will before you sign which can give you the comfort of knowing that you have completed the form correctly.
Online Wills, however, do not always suit someone with a more complex estate such as a value in excess of £325,000, where there are children from different relationships or where you want to build in some asset protection.
Speaking to a professional
For peace of mind or if your affairs are more complicated then speaking to a professional may be the best option for you. This could either be a solicitor or a trained Will writer. The professional can help guide you through the decisions regarding your will, they can explain the legal terminology and may point out issues which you had not considered.
For more complex situations, especially where inheritance tax is concerned or where you are looking to protect your estate from the cost of care, speaking to a specialist TEP (trust and estate practitioner) would be advisable.
Speaking to a professional is not always as costly as you may think. Most professionals will offer a fixed price service, and many will visit you in your own home. Don’t be afraid to shop around and make sure that the cost includes any “extras” for example letters of wishes, severance of joint tenancy.
Whichever option you choose, remember that making a Will is likely to be one of the most important documents that you prepare during your lifetime. If you don’t get it right, it will only be after your death that the errors Will be discovered. This can lead to a significant amount of stress and cost for your loved ones.
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