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Can you afford NOT to have your Will professionally drafted?

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We appreciate that there are more interesting things to spend your money on and that there seems to be a lot of affordable ways of making a Will. Perhaps you’ve bought a make-your-own package from your local shop, or had a family member help you write it with some examples they found online. Maybe you even had your accountant, financial advisor or even the family solicitor who has served your family for generations offer their hand in drafting your Will.

Many people feel that this is something that they can do themselves but the truth is that Wills are very much a specialist document and are very easy to get wrong. There are many services that people would not even consider finding an alternative to, but we find that many people are encountering issues after having their Will drafted by someone who does not specialise in this complex area of law. I doubt that you have ever considered asking your local mechanic to carry out a knee replacement, or your vet to fit a new kitchen. We all specialise in something as a result of our jobs and Wills are no different!

Most professionals outside of legal practice will not be insured nor regulated to provide such services, therefore if your Will is done incorrectly, your executors may not necessarily be able to financially rectify the issues they can create. If you consider the value of your estate (being all your assets less your debts), would the person who drafted the Will be able to compensate your estate this amount? In the unlikely event that a suitably experienced legal professional drafts your Will incorrectly, they are insured such that your intended beneficiaries should still receive the amount that they were due to receive based on your intentions.

I have had a number of cases whereby poorly drafted Wills, invalid Wills or amendments that do not meet the necessary legal formalities have resulted not only in significantly higher legal costs than a properly drafted Will would have incurred, but the ambiguity and uncertainty can create disputes as to your actual intentions and can create irreparable family rifts. All because the Will missed a few words, or because it includes a clause that sounded relevant when it was seen ina relative’s Will or online, but significantly changes the nature of the Will.

At Stephensons, Wills start from just £72 online or £149 in person. A properly drafted Will could mean avoiding the hundreds if not thousands in legal fees incurred in cases with invalid or poorly drafted Wills. Even if your loved ones have to pay these fees there is no guarantee that it will be possible to honour your intentions, especially where there is a lack of evidence in this regard. How likely is it that the person that drafted your Will kept detailed notes of your intentions in the same manner that a legal professional would?

Please consider the value of the relationships between your loved ones and the value of your intended wishes in the event of your death, as I am sure these vastly outweigh the cost of making a Will. If you think that your Will may need reviewing, please contact us on 01616 966 229.