Should You Write Your Own Will?
Read this in-depth guide before you decide.
Should you write your own Will? If you’re reading this post you’re probably considering doing just that. As a leading Will writing specialist, we know that working out your assets and maximising your children’s inheritance can feel overwhelming, particularly if you’ve never done it before. After all, you’ve worked hard your whole life and you want to make sure the people you care about most will be properly provided for.
After reading this guide, you will have a better understanding of what is involved in making a Will. You will also have a clearer idea if writing your own Will is appropriate, or if using a Will Writing specialist would be more beneficial.
Step 1. Decide how complex your circumstances are
Deciding whether or not to write your own Will depends on how simple or complex your circumstances are.
Create your own Will Instantly Online
If your wishes are fairly simple, an Online Instant Will service may be the best option for you. By answering an easy-to-use questionnaire, you can have a tailored document outlining your final wishes in as little as 20 minutes. This can be a good option if your finances are uncomplicated, and you want to leave everything to your spouse, civil partner or your children.
Use a Bespoke Home or Video Will Writing Service
These personal services take into consideration your specific needs – in the comfort and privacy of your own home – and ensure that the Will is clear, unambiguous and that there is nothing that could invalidate it.
Your instructions are taken in an appointment which lasts around an hour, and typically, your will is hand-delivered (or sent to you) once completed.
How much will it cost?
The cost of each Will depends on the Will writing service you choose and what your individual circumstances are. As a rough guide, when you make your Will with us, you can expect to pay:
- From £150 per Will when using our Home Visit or Video Will writing service
A bespoke service tailored to your exact requirements, recommended if your circumstances are more complex
- From £69 per Will if you choose to write your own Will using our Instant Online DIY Will writing service
A quick option if your finances and circumstances are uncomplicated
Step 2. Work out your Estate and Assets
Your Will documents your assets which make up the total sum of your estate. Should you write your own Will, you’ll need to know what yours are. Assets usually include your home, any other properties you own, money and savings, pension funds and insurance policies. They also can include jewellery and other sentimental items.
Step 3. Decide who you wish to leave your assets to
You will then need to decide who you wish to receive all of these assets. They can be left to different people. Using a bespoke Home Visit or Video Will service makes this sometimes fiddly-process very easy – no matter how many beneficiaries you’d like to name!
Step 4. Appoint an executor
The final step in the planning stage is to decide who you want your executor(s) to be. This is the person who will be in charge of distributing your estate.
Step 5. Considerations to ensure your Will is legal
Dealing with an estate without a Will is often chaotic and complicated at a time of already significant upset. Having a valid Will in place ensures your wishes are fulfilled upon your death and avoids additional upset. These guidelines can provide help to ensure your Will is valid, however, you choose to write it.
Ensure your Will is witnessed by two people
A valid Will must be signed and witnessed by two people at least 18 years of age. You could consider a relative, family friend or even a neighbour.
It’s important to remember that neither your Witnesses – nor their spouses – can be named beneficiaries in your Will. This is particularly worth bearing in mind as there are rules which will invalidate the parts of your Will that involve their gifts. These witnesses must physically see you sign the Will, and you must watch them both sign too.
Your consultant can witness your Will when you choose Home Visit or Video Will Service. We can also provide an additional witness from our Head Office team via video if you need it.
Ensure you are not under any undue pressure
It’s essential to make your Will through your own choice and without any undue pressure. This includes not being lied to or tricked into making a Will, which can occur when family members are perhaps more susceptible to emotional manipulation.
When this does happen, a person can be persuaded to leave parts of their Estate to individuals they wouldn’t have chosen without undue pressure.
You must have ‘testamentary capacity’
Having ‘testamentary capacity’ means you must be of sound mind and understanding at the time of making your Will. Not being aware of the consequences and outcomes of the contents of your Will can mean it may be rendered invalid.
These important considerations are carefully documented at the time of instruction when you choose our In-Home or Video Consultation service. This ensures your assets are protected and left to the people you care about most.
Step 6. You’ve made your Will. Now What?
Register your will with the National Will Registry
Should you choose to write your own Will or use an expert to help, it is up to you to then register it as soon as it has been signed. We recommend the National Will Register (known as Certainty). Whilst your wishes remain private, Certainty record where your will is stored and make a note of details such as the date it was made and your chosen executors. If family members are unsure if a will exists, or where it is stored, a search of the Certainty register quickly provides the information they need.
Choose where to keep your Will
For a Will to be valid only the original is accepted. It’s perfectly acceptable to keep your Will in a safe place at home – many people do. However, this does mean you may be at risk of misplacing your documents if you move home, losing them altogether – through a fire, flood or burglary.
As a specialist Will writing company we offer a secure storage subscription.
You can store your Will and associated documents in our secure, fully insured storage facility for an annual fee of £30 a year. This also includes a free annual update, covering small amendments to your Will, such as a change of address or adding a new beneficiary.
Keep your Will up to date
If your circumstances change you’ll need to update your will. Common reasons people update their will include divorce, death of a loved one, dealing with finances and coming into an inheritance.
Small updates to your Will are included when you choose our secure storage subscription.
Step 7. Be aware of changes that may invalidate your Will
It’s worth bearing in mind that Wills can be invalidated in several ways. This includes simply making a new one, expressing your wishes to revoke the previous one. Marriage and divorce do not invalidate a will, but they do have a significant impact. There are also considerations to your estate if you become separated but do not divorce.
There are several steps you can make to protect your estate against Will Challenges. Your consultant can provide tailored advice on how to do this, or should you write your own Will learn more by reading Five Steps to a Watertight Will.
We hope you’ve found this guide helpful. You should feel better informed about the options to decide if you should write your own Will – and whether you may find it beneficial to speak to an expert to discuss your circumstances before making a final decision.
Just Wills is all we do – we’re confident you’ll get the best advice available.
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This article is for general information only and does not constitute legal advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.
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