In today’s digital age, templates for Do-it-Yourself (DIY) Wills are just a click away. Their lower cost and availability, both online and in stationery shops, present a tempting solution. Online services often seem even more convenient with the updated legalisation of remote Will witnessing – since January 31, 2020 – in England and Wales. Even so, self-drafting your Will without the guidance of a regulated professional might not always be the wisest choice. In this blog, our Private Client Team takes a closer look at the crucial reasons why engaging a solicitor or regulated professional is pivotal when writing or updating your Will and the dangers of using unregulated DIY or online services.
What is a Will?
A Will is a legal document that outlines your wishes regarding the distribution of your assets and property after your passing. It allows you to appoint executors who will manage your estate and nominate guardians for any minor children. Writing a Will is essential to protect your loved ones since the rules of intestacy (when a person dies without leaving a Will) do not guarantee that your estate will go to the people you want it to. Even if you are married or in a civil partnership, if you do not have a Will, your spouse may not necessarily inherit all of your estate under the intestacy rules as the exact distribution depends on various factors, including the value of the estate and the surviving relatives. Read our previous article:
Do I Need a Solicitor to Write my Will?
While you are not legally required to use a solicitor to write your Will, it is highly advisable to do so. A solicitor ensures that your Will is properly drafted, legally valid, and accurately reflects your intentions. DIY Wills or cheap online services may seem cost-effective, but they often lack the attention to detail, and legal expertise required, potentially leading to costly errors or disputes.
What are the Dangers of DIY Wills or Cheap Online Will Services?
DIY Wills or using cheap online services can be risky due to the following reasons:
- Errors: These services might not consider all legal requirements, leading to inaccuracies or omissions in your Will.
- Legal Compliance: Unlike regulated legal professionals, DIY Wills or unregulated Will writing services may not be bound by strict regulatory bodies or professional indemnity insurance. This lack of control, responsibility and protection exposes clients to potential errors, negligence, or financial loss.
- Complex Situations: DIY Wills might not adequately address all issues if you have a complicated family structure or substantial assets.
- Disputes: Poorly written Wills can result in ambiguity and stressful family disputes, potentially leading to lengthy and costly legal battles.
What are the Benefits of Using a Solicitor or Regulated Legal Professional?
Using a solicitor to write your Will offers numerous advantages, including:
- Legal Expertise and Experience: Solicitors possess the knowledge and experience to ensure your Will is legally sound and structured in the most effective way.
- Personalisation: Your solicitor will tailor the Will to your unique situation, addressing specific concerns and preferences.
- Advice on Tax Efficiency: Solicitors can advise on minimising inheritance tax or should it be outside of their expertise they will advise you to seek guidance from a tax specialist or independent financial advisor, potentially saving your beneficiaries money and ensuring your estate is managed in the most tax efficient way possible.
- Minimising Errors: Efficient Will writing requires a comprehensive understanding of complex legal processes and considerations, and legal professionals are expected to uphold a high level of competence and knowledge of their area of expertise. Subsequently, seeking advice from a solicitor or regulated professional minimises the likelihood of mistakes in your Will and ensures it accurately reflects your wishes.
What is the Wills and Inheritance Quality Scheme (WIQS) Accreditation?
The Wills and Inheritance Quality Scheme (WIQS) accreditation is a best practice quality mark for Wills and Estate Administration advice. Bridge McFarland LLP is proud to hold this accreditation, assuring clients of our commitment to high professional standards and ethical conduct.
Why Choose Bridge McFarland LLP’s Specialist Will Writing Solicitors?
While you aren’t obligated to use a solicitor, the benefits of doing so far outweigh the risks of DIY Wills or cheap online services. At Bridge McFarland LLP, our specialist Will Writing Solicitors understand the significance of creating a robust will that accurately represents your wishes. With our longstanding experience and the WIQS accreditation, our firm stands out for its excellence and commitment to providing reliable Will writing services. We are committed to imparting legal knowledge in a way that is accessible and easy to comprehend.
Speak to our Wills Solicitors
With offices across Lincolnshire, including Lincoln, Hull, Louth, Market Rasen and Grimsby, we will carefully consider your personal circumstances to provide a comprehensive and tax-efficient structure, protecting your beneficiaries against the impact of inheritance tax. The team at Bridge McFarland LLP will help you understand the process, making you feel at ease.