30th MARCH 2020
According to the law, anyone can make a will. Theoretically, all one needs is a piece of a paper and a pen. Is it advisable? No, but there are lots of do-it-yourself kits available as templates for this purpose.
As cheap alternatives to a will-writing service, like Kwil, or a solicitor, DIY kits start from around £10.00, with supposedly more ‘reputable’ ones reaching about £30.00. They can be found in stationery shops or downloaded online. They are marketed for those whose last wishes seem very simple on the surface, such as leaving everything to your married/civil partner, or to your children if you are no longer with your partner.
But while these kits may make writing your will seem like something you can competently do on your own, they are highly dubious and can cause a great deal of financial and emotional stress further down the line.
A will should contain your personal information, including your address, marital status, whether you have any children or pets, etc. It should then clearly list all your assets and how exactly you want these to be apportioned following your death. Finally, an executor of your will should be named.
According to UK law, a will need only abide by two strict guidelines. If it is properly written, then these are that is it (1) signed by yourself and (2) that your signature has been witnessed by two independent adults at the same time.
The problem with self-made wills is how they are worded. As an instruction of your last wishes, your will must be as clear and precise as possible. If there is the slightest room for doubt arising from this, in what is an extremely delicate and important process, then the will can be contested and/or invalidated in court. In this instance, the government will step in and will have ultimate say on what happens to your assets.
Not only can this be a highly embarrassing experience for your loved ones, it can drastically limit the total wealth they will receive, as the government won’t look to avoid certain taxes on their inheritance.
Legal experts are unanimous in their warnings against the use of these DIY kits or trying to make one yourself.
Whether you have written your will with the help of these templates, or completely by yourself, it is likely there will be some imprecision or misunderstanding in the wording, and it will be thrown out of court. Complex or unorthodox wishes, no matter how heart-felt, will also be discredited.
Unlike a will-writing service, such as Kwil, or that offered by a solicitor, there is no safety net provided by the template-selling companies. Instead, the responsibility of the will’s verifiability lies totally with the writer.
It is true that buying a DIY will-kit is a great deal cheaper than hiring a solicitor, but the services of a will-writing firm like Kwil, are not that much more expensive. While it appears that you will be saving money at the time, this is minimal, considering the charges your loved ones will highly likely incur over any legal disputes arising from errors in your will, or the amount of your total estate that might be denied to them because of it.
For something as important as your will, it is best to leave it to the professionals, and for just that little bit extra, Kwil can save you and your loved one’s money and peace of mind. It also helps as you are taken through the process step-by-step so that you won’t miss anything and your will is legally binding and largely, contest-proof at the end of it.