Yes. You can buy DIY will forms online, or from a high street store, for as little as £5.
Writing your own will is legally binding if you do it correctly. It’s also cheap, fast and can be a good option for certain people in certain circumstances. If your situation and wishes are simple, or you find yourself with an unexpected, immediate need – an imminent surgery, for example.
There are strict rules around witnessing. Problems can arise if you don’t know what you’re doing. If you make a mistake during the most crucial stage – the signing of the document, known as the attestation – your DIY will won’t be legally binding.
The person whose will it is – the testatrix if it’s a woman or testator if it’s a man – must sign the document in the presence of two witnesses. The witnesses, who must also sign it, need to be over the age of 18. They cannot be beneficiaries of the will, and all three people must be together in the same place when the will is witnessed. This is typically where mistakes occur.
Even if this is done correctly, other errors could creep in leading to parts of the will being invalid – a situation known as ‘partial intestacy’. Poorly written clauses, for example, may contradict or cancel one another out, leading to financial losses. Badly worded wills can also delay probate and result in significant legal costs, eradicating any savings initially made by using a DIY will.
Finding a Professional
A professional will writer can prepare a legally valid will for a fraction of the cost of a traditional solicitor.
If you decide to use a will writer, it’s worth asking whether they prepare the documents themselves or send them away. Those who prepare the documents themselves generally provide a better service.
Also check if your will writer is affiliated with any of the national will-writing organisations. Accredited writers have the benefit of professional indemnity insurance. This protects their business in the event of claims against them, such as accidental damage of property.
A Trusted Brand
At Maple Wills, we are accredited specialists who’ve written hundreds of wills. We know the right wording to use for your specific circumstances, so you can have confidence that your assets will be passed on exactly as you intend.
You are welcome to visit our office, or we will arrange to come to you at a convenient time. We’ll discuss your needs in detail before drawing up a document, returning when it’s ready to sign.
The process takes around two weeks from start to finish and typically involves no more than two hours of your time in total.
For more information, contact Bal Budesha at Maple Wills on 01908 478988 or request a call back at a time to suit you.