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About Legacy Wills

Is it Possible to draft Your Will at Home?

Yes, it is indeed possible for you to draft your own Will at Home. The team at Legacy Wills are constantly trying to encourage individuals to take just a few minutes to complete their free DIY will kit as the peace of mind that comes with it is truly worth the time spared.

We will go into greater detail about what constitutes as a valid will, but it is first necessary to emphasize that not all Wills were made equal. By that we mean that not every Will created is actually valid – though yes, it is indeed true that a napkin agreement will hold up in court, if approached correctly.

Most legal Wills adhere to specific guidelines that state ‘what you say and how you say it’ – known as a standard format. The standard format of writing a Will eliminates any potential confusion, even if you are writing your Will within the comforts of your own home.

Not adhering to the standard format means that your instructions might not be followed exactly as you’d like, and in a few extreme cases, it would also mean that your Will is deemed invalid. So as important as it is to write your own Will, it is also important to adhere to the standard format that has standard sections and legal terms included within it. Often, this is why people opt to work alongside a Will & Estate Planning Consultant so that they have the peace of mind that comes with instructing experts to get the job done.

In most cases, writing one’s own Will is advisable only if the wishes of the testator (person drafting the Will) are fairly straightforward. For example:

  • If you are married and wish to leave behind everything to your spouse after you pass away.
  • If your spouse has passed on before you and you intend to leave everything behind for your children.

If the contents of your Will are even just slightly more complex than this, Legacy Wills advise that you consult with a solicitor or a professional Will writing service.

There are circumstances where drafting your own will at home without the help of experts is advised against. A popular option for those who don’t have the time to meet with solicitors is to instruct a well-known Will writing professional to draft the Will instead.

You should always seek professional help if:

  • You are an owner of property overseas
  • You are attempting to lower your inheritance tax bill
  • You have made investments or have bank accounts abroad
  • You are a business owner and wish to leave your business to a specific beneficiary
  • You wish to take care of people who are not part of your immediate family
  • There is even the slightest possibility of bequests made in your Will being misinterpreted

If you pass away without having a legally valid Will in place, your estate (property) will be distributed by very specific rules that are referred to as the rules of intestacy.

Whenever a person passes away without leaving behind a legally valid Will, he or she is declared as an intestate person and their estate will be distributed as per the rules of intestacy.

Only your spouse or registered civil partner, along with some members of your immediate family will be covered by the rules of intestacy. Thus, if you have certain specific wishes about how you want your estate to be distributed, make sure that you draft a Will that is legally valid beforehand.

By not leaving behind a legally valid Will, you lose all control over how your property is distributed after you pass away, as the rules of intestacy take over.

Also, if the deceased had no living relatives from the group specified under the rules of intestacy, then the complete belongings of their estate will be transferred to the state. In such a scenario, no beneficiary will stand to inherit from the deceased person’s estate.

However, through the Inheritance act of 1975, it is possible for a few eligible people to challenge the rules of intestacy, if they were not sufficiently provided for from the deceased person’s estate, such as:

  • The spouse or registered civil partner of the deceased
  • Any person who lived under the same roof as the deceased for a minimum period of two years prior to their death i.e. co-habitees
  • Children belonging to the deceased
  • Any person cared for by the deceased person as though they were their own child
  • Any person that was financially dependent on the deceased person

A Will is considered legally valid as long as:

  • It’s been made in writing, duly signed by the person drafting the Will in the presence of two witnesses.
  • The testator was of sound mind and had the requisite mental capacity to comprehend the effect of the Will being drafted.

The Will was drafted voluntarily by the testator who was not subject to any undue external pressure or coercion.

If any of the following scenarios play out, the beneficiaries of a Will cannot inherit from the deceased person’s estate:

  • If one of the witnesses to the Will is also a beneficiary or a registered civil partner/spouse of the beneficiary, the Will remains legally valid but the beneficiary will not stand to inherit anything.
  • Former spouses or civil partners will not inherit from the deceased person’s estate, unless the terms of the Will state the contrary. However, if the couple are merely separated and not officially divorced, the spouse will still be considered as a beneficiary to the deceased person’s estate.
  • If the Will states that a particular property is to be passed over to a beneficiary, but the property is no longer owned by the deceased and therefore is not a part of their estate, the beneficiary will lose their inheritance.

Now, if a Will has already been drafted, but one of its intended beneficiaries passes on before the testator, the estate of the beneficiary will not inherit from the testator’s estate.

In such a situation, the benefit is considered to have been lapsed, as the death of the beneficiary precedes that of the testator. Dependents of the beneficiaries can only inherit from the testator’s estate in the event of the following exceptions:

  • If it is explicitly stated in the Will that children or any other lineal descendent of the beneficiary will inherit in the event of the beneficiaries’ death, the benefit from the testator estate will still be considered active, so long as the children were alive at the time the Will was originally drafted. However, if the gift is life interest, then the descendants of the beneficiary will not inherit anything.
  • If the testator has planned for substitute provisions in the Will, the benefit will remain active. For example, if the Will states that ‘such of my children as are alive at my death’, the estate will be distributed between all the surviving children of the deceased.

We understand that creating a will is deemed a stressful experience, which is why so many people put the task off. But when it comes to something as simple as how to make a Will at home, there really should be no confusion on the matter as there are experts out there willing to assist individuals during the process. Confer with legal experts, such as a no-fuss Wills and estate planning service, to ensure that you have a legally valid Will to protect your loved ones, even in your absence.

Three Easy Steps

Creating a will step 1

STEP 1

Fill in our online form to get the ball rolling. This will take less than a minute!
Creating a will step 2

STEP 2

Our in house experts will prepare your bespoke Will & Estate planning requirements. You can sit back and have peace of mind
Creating a will step 3

STEP 3

You'll receive your documents by post. Simply sign and send back in the pre-paid envelope provided.
GET YOUR WILL SORTED TODAY

Your will can include

Appoint executors

Make cash legacies

Instruct the distribution of your residuary estate

Make gifts of chattels and property

Exclude specific individuals from inheriting, should you wish to do so

Make gifts of businesses

Give funeral requests and organ donation requirements

Make gifts of pets

Appoint guardians (for children under 18)

Set an age to inherit (up to 25)

What our clients say

G. Mackenzie

Absolutely brilliant to work with from start to finish. Arranged an exact time to phone and they were right on the button. Just what I needed.

Will writing testimonial

J. Hunter

They keep you informed every step of the way, did not pressurise in any way and were helpful with things I did not even think about

5 Star Will Writing

R. Mills

Easy, straightforward company to deal with. All the mystique and expense of will writing done away with. No unnecessary expensive solicitors fees

Will Specialists