The importance of a professionally drawn will

Why make a Will?

Ensuring that you have a Will in place to deal with your estate after you die is arguably one of the most important things you can do. A Will can help make things easier and less time consuming for those who administer your estate, it can help reduce the amount of inheritance tax that may be payable and it can ensure that your estate passes to the beneficiary of your choice as oppose to under the rules of intestacy.

An individual who makes a Will is known as a testator. Some testators make a handwritten Will or complete the ‘do it yourself’ Wills that can be obtained from WH Smith, the Post Office or most stationers.  There are times when the estate is very straight forward and this may suffice. However, you may not necessarily know if your situation is going to be complicated until you discuss your estate with a professional.

Executors and Guardians

When making a homemade Will some testator’s neglect to appoint executors to administer the estate or guardians to care for any minor children. This can create problems if those left behind disagree over who should act.

Beneficiaries

It is very rare that a non-professional Will considers the possibility of a beneficiary dying before the testator and to whom that gift should then pass to.

A professionally drawn Will is particularly important if you have children or dependents or wish to leave a legacy to someone outside of your family. Additionally if you are excluding certain family members or dependents they may be able to bring a claim against your estate after your death and it is important to obtain legal advice on this issue and how you can mitigate against such a claim.

Execution and Capacity  

A professionally drawn Will also gives weight to the testator having the necessary knowledge and capacity to make the Will. This is very important if the validity of the Will or the mental capacity of the testator is brought into question and it is alleged that the Will is void on these grounds.

A Will is only valid if it is executed correctly and a professional will ensure that this is the case. If there are any questions regarding the execution of your Will the witness to the Will will be easier to trace if you have used a professional and will be able to answer any questions after you have died.

Additional considerations

It may also be necessary to obtain professional advice if you own a property as there are various ways in which property can be owned and it may not be possible to leave it to the beneficiary of your choice if, for example, you own the property with another as joint tenants, as the property will pass to your co-owner under the rules of survivorship. Solicitors can check the ownership of your property by examining your deeds or the title register with the Land Registry.

The benefits of a solicitor drafted will are as follows:

  • Solicitors are regulated by a professional body;
  • Solicitors are required to carry indemnity insurance; and
  • Solicitors can also advise you on other areas of law which relate to your Will, for example family or property issues, which other Will Writers will not be able to do

If you have any concerns regarding the validity of your Will please contact us on 0844 567 2222 by email at wills@leedsday.co.uk or visit our website www.leedsday.co.uk  We have offices in Huntingdon, St Neots and St Ives.          


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