‘If you want something done right, do it yourself’ may be a solid mantra in many aspects of day-to-day life, but not when it comes to drafting one of the most important documents you’ll ever possess: your will.


While DIY-ing is an option that seems like an attractive way to save money initially (particularly during a cost-of-living crisis), the potential for mistakes and poor execution could cost you much more in the long run.


Ingram v Abraham

A recent High Court judgement (Henrietta Ingram and Anor v Simon Timothy Abraham and Anor) focussed on a dispute between siblings concerning their late mother's will. The deceased had initially written her will in 2008 and then amended it in 2019 to make her son executor (the individual legally responsible for carrying out the instructions in a will and handling the estate). As a result, the will was not executed in line with her wishes.


The 2019 version was drafted using an online will template and was ultimately overturned and not admitted to probate due to the following:

  1. a failure to carry out the deceased’s intentions
  2. a lack of the required formalities
  3. misunderstandings by the deceased when updating the document

After considerable and expensive litigation in the courts, the earlier 2008 version of the deceased’s will was admitted to probate.


Why should you have a will?

Shockingly, almost two-thirds of UK adults do not have a will in place, meaning there is no formal record of what they want to happen to their estate (and crucially, any children or dependents) if they die.


Your will is one of the most important documents you will ever sign as it ensures that, should you die, your intentions will be carried out as you would have wished. Wills are legally binding and outline what you would like to happen to:

  • your money
  • your property and possessions
  • any children or dependents you have

It also details who you would like to carry out these wishes on your behalf, known as your executor(s), and who you would like to leave certain assets to, known as your beneficiaries.


Wills can vary in format and detail depending on your circumstances – from a basic or 'simple' will to a much more 'complex' one. A solicitor will be able to advise you on the best type of will for you, your family, and your assets.


Why should you instruct a solicitor to help you write your will?

Unfortunately, will-writing services are not regulated in the UK, meaning that while there are many options available for drafting your will, there are no protections available to you if the end product is not fit for purpose. The quality of unregulated will-writing services and DIY wills can also vary significantly, and, as wills can be invalidated if they contain mistakes, this can be a costly option in the long run.


Solicitors, however, are regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA), so you will be covered under their protections, adding an extra layer of reassurance that what you are paying for is safeguarded.


In his recent ITV show, Money Saving Expert, Martin Lewis said that wills drafted by a solicitor are the 'gold standard', compared to unregulated advisors or doing it yourself; he also says on his website that a solicitor-drafted will should give you the ‘most peace of mind’, and that’s priceless!


Sweeney Miller’s Wills team can help

Our will writing team can help you create a will that reflects your wishes and is appropriate for you, your circumstances, and your assets. Our experienced, compassionate estate management solicitors will discuss with you your assets, marital status, family, who you would wish to deal with your estate, and who you would wish to benefit from your estate on your death.


We can also advise you on and help you draft a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) at the same time as writing your will. An LPA is a formal legal document where you appoint one or more people (attorneys) to make decisions on your behalf if you can no longer do this yourself; for example, you become incapacitated or unwell and can be just as important as your will, particularly if you are a business owner.


While our will-writing service prices are competitive, you will also get the added reassurance of our experience and expertise and the protections available to you by using a regulated service. ‘If you want something done right, do it yourself’ might be true when you're painting your hallway, but when it comes to writing your will, if you want something done right, ask an expert!


Please speak to our friendly, experienced Wills, Trusts and Estates team today by calling 0191 569 2050 or emailing enquiries@sweeneymiller.co.uk.


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