If you are in the process of getting your affairs in order, you may decide you don’t want a solicitor. Want to know how and where to write your own will? Let’s take a look.
When thinking about how and where to write your will, it’s important to be realistic. There are many circumstances in which writing your own will may not be appropriate or advisable.
When you shouldn’t write your own will
If you have interests such as property, savings accounts or businesses abroad, then you will need professional help to draft your will.
The same applies if you have a second family as a result of more than one marriage, or financial dependents other than your immediate family.
In addition, if you own a business jointly with someone, then you have a professional responsibility to your business partner to ensure you have a will drafted by a legal professional.
If your will is likely to involve any degree of complexity at all, it is worth seeking professional legal advice.
When you could write your own will
When planning how and where to write your will, there are situations in which writing one of your own is appropriate. You can save quite a bit of money in the process. But the key here is simplicity.
If you have a single beneficiary, such as a husband or wife, then writing your own will is an option. If you have children, you could add that they will become beneficiaries if you outlive your partner.
Alternatively, if you have no dependents and you wish to donate your entire estate to charity, then this could be a situation where it’s possible to write your own will.
How to write your own will
Many charities and companies offer free will writing guides and will writing templates, which are available online.
A template will give you guidance. However, it is important to bear in mind that if you make a mistake, the company providing the template cannot be held liable.
When writing the will, make sure the names of all beneficiaries are in full, including middle names. Check and double check all spelling, especially all the names in the document. If you want to leave a donation to charity, make sure you have the correct name, address and charity number.
Make sure you sign and date your will in front of two witnesses. This is very important. Make at least two copies of your will to be on the safe side. If your will is a replacement, destroy any old ones. Clearly state in the new will that you are revoking all wills previously made.
You can store your will with the Probate Service if you are based in England or Wales for a flat fee of £25. Some banks also offer a similar service for a small fee. You could opt to store your will at home, but if you do so, make sure it is in a safe place.
Once you have appointed an executor, let them know the whereabouts of your will.
Another possible option when thinking about how and where to write your will is to have it checked by a legal professional. If your will is simple, this should be a straightforward process. This will be cheaper than hiring a solicitor to write the will from scratch.
Alternatively, using a will writing service is a good compromise if you need help. You will also avoid a hefty solicitor’s bill. Choose a will writer recognised by a professional body such as the institute of Professional Will Writers.
Remember that a will is something you leave behind when you are gone. If you leave behind a legal mess, then chances are your loved ones will be left with the responsibility.
Take your time when you are writing your will. Even the simplest of legal documents can be quite complicated.
The importance of checking for mistakes when writing your own will cannot be stressed enough. It is essential to make sure it is 100% error-free.
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