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Making a cheap Will is a bad idea!

Dec 9, 2021

We all like a bargain, don’t we?

It is quite common to see Wills being advertised “on the cheap”, at the price of an average meal down the pub. However, Will writing companies have spent money to advertise at the top of internet platforms like google in order to sell you a Will on the cheap, the price is always very low – then it’s often an automated process you fill in the info and they print it out and produce a document to sign… but ask yourself:

  • Is that Will tailored to me and will it do what it says?
  • Will that cheap Will stand up under proper scrutiny?
  • What will happen if something goes wrong with your Will and you are no longer able to correct it?
  • Is that firm likely to be around when your time comes?
  • Who is storing your Will, do you have the only copy?
  • Does a cheap Will provider have the correct insurances?
  • Can your homemade Will be edited?

A cheap or homemade Will is really like most things in life – if it is too good to be true, it often is!

A Will is probably one of the most important documents that anyone can make when dealing with their Estate. You will spend your entire lifetime building up your Estate, and you often know exactly who you would like to benefit from it (or, who you would not like to benefit!) when you die. Is the document that can determine all of this only worth the price of a meal down the pub?

There is a lot to consider when making a Will. In the first instance, one must consider the Testator’s capacity, influences, possible claims against the Estate and Tax to name a few. Detailed notes and compliance with legal requirements contained therein are invaluable if a Will is challenged.

What does it cost to make a Will?

We often hear from clients that they consider their affairs to be “fairly straight forward” and “simple”, so they do not think they need an “expensive Will”. However, whilst that might be so, there are a range of Wills between “cheap” and “expensive”, and there is always the risk that a Will which has not been properly considered and advised on, could have unforeseen and adverse consequences for the Testator’s family.

Family Disputes – contested Wills are on the rise

As a full service law firm, with both Will Lawyers and a Disputes team, over the years with the rise of the internet we have seen a rise in family disputes and Wills being contested about why certain members of the family are being excluded from the Will. However, even if you do not wish to exclude anyone, there are many other factors which must be taken into account when drafting a Will, to ensure it is legal, valid and protected from challenge.

Why get a professional Will made?

When you look at the bigger picture, disputes and challenges dwarf the cost of instructing a professional regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority and make that “cheap Will” ultimately not so cheap. We are also associated with bodies such as STEP, the Law Society, Solicitors for the Elderly and these bodies can provide you with the maximum protection and peace of mind that your affairs have been properly considered and are in good hands.

We must often deal with a home drafted Will, or a Will that has been drafted by Will writers who have provided a “guarantee” when the Will was drafted. However, more often than not, we find that these Will writers are no longer in business or are without proper insurance that would compensate disappointed beneficiaries.

Our Will Lawyers always recommend that you have your Will drafted after proper consideration with the assistance of a recognised professional Will Lawyer or writer. Otherwise, a cheap Will, may potentially see those you care the most about needing to see our Contentious Probate team instead when the time comes.

A professionally drafted Will by a fully qualified Will Lawyer is an investment that might cost you a few hundred pounds to put in place initially, but your estate lawyer will likely make it bespoke to you and your assets to offer better protection, safe storage and guarantees that cheap Wills don’t. If you would like to make a Will, or speak to one of our Wills Lawyers or Will Solicitors our Private Wealth & Inheritance Team will be happy to assist you.

How can we help?

If you need further advice on the issues raised in this article, please do contact our Private Wealth & Inheritance solicitors, or email at HCprivateclient@herrington-carmichael.com, or phone 01276 868 222.

This reflects the law at the date of publication and is written as a general guide. It does not contain definitive legal advice, which should be sought as appropriate in relation to your own particular matter before action is taken.

Minnaar Badenhorst

Minnaar Badenhorst

Legal Director, Private Wealth & Inheritance

Legal Director, Private Wealth & Inheritance

t: 01276 854 921
e: minnaar.badenhorst@herrington-carmichael.com

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