PROBLEMS WITH DIY WILLS
Failing to leave clear instructions
Panda. Large black-and-white bear-like mammal, native to China. Eats shoots and leaves.
But now put a comma after “eats”.
You see just one comma in the wrong place can change the meaning of your intentions completely.
Will drafting is a very technical skill and the language used has purpose. Even punctuation can alter legal interpretation. With a DIY will it can sometimes be difficult to know what the will maker actually intended and the legal costs of applying for rectification or interpretation of a poorly drafted will can be very substantial – even if all the beneficiaries and interested parties agree.
ONLINE DIY WILLS; It’s true that many on-line guides re Will writing can be helpful. However, DIY wills should only be considered for the simplest of circumstances – preferably where there are no children or property ownership involved. The questionnaires available rarely cater for the myriad range of possibilities that need to be considered. Even if the will maker knows exactly what they want AND is aware of the various options available AND knows how to express those options so they are legally binding, many DIY wills turn out to be inadequate.
Once they’re deceased, it’s too late to do anything about it.
Failing to sign it properly
Can make it INVALID.
Choosing the wrong witnesses
Again, can make your will INVALID.
For instance, can a beneficiary also be a witness?
You can’t just change details in a Will. A codicil has to be created.
Failing to understand property ownership.
Is the house joint tenancy or tenants in common? Get it wrong and the house might not go to the children at all but to the new spouse.
Not choosing executors & guardians carefully.
This can lead to huge problems. Can an Executor also be a beneficiary?
Putting it where no one can find it
If no one can find the Will it is assumed it doesn’t exist and the Laws of Intestacy will apply.
Not updating your Will.
As situations change, so should the Will.
Internet based Wills
Do you really want all your family details on the web?
Errors, omissions, and unclear statements.
This can lead to years of family disputes involving massive legal fees.
With Do-it-yourself wills no one checks for any problems until you’re dead……….and then it’s too late.
Read – Make sure your DIY will isn’t a botch job – The Telegraph
Read – Is Your Will Legally Sound? – Money Week