Is It Legal To Write Your Own Will At Home In The UK?
Writing up a will is a highly recommended step in managing your assets, especially once you own a significant estate. The distribution of your wealth and property in the event of your death can be a complicated one, and your own will can give much-needed guidance to those that have to handle your estate during this time. You’ll likely be aware that writing a will is a serious one and requires expert, legal oversight. Dealing with people in person, however, especially today, can be a concern still for older people and those that are vulnerable. However, there are ways that this can be done remotely at home.
Why Is Legal Advice Important When Writing A Will?
This is especially when your will is complicated, but getting help from a solicitor who specialises in wills and probate can significantly when writing your will. If you share a property with someone you’re not married to or in a civil partnership with, for example, can cause some complications. Or if one of your beneficiaries is unable to take care of themselves and requires a guardian or executor to manage their inheritance for them, legal support will be able to guide you through these more complicated matters. Even if your will is fairly straightforward, though, because the document is a legal one, it needs to be at least signed and witnessed properly to be valid.
What Complications Can Come From A Handwritten Or Homemade Will?
Just because a document has been signed, it doesn’t mean that the person that wrote it actually intended for it to be an official will, or that it’s even proof that they wrote it in the first place. When writing a will with legal oversight, there is official, expert proof that the will is legitimate and that the intention is sound. It also helps prove that you were of sound mind when writing the document. If the will’s signing hasn’t been witnessed correctly, it’ll invalidate the whole process and void the document. To prove that your will is yours and that you understand exactly what you’re signing, it’s important that legal advice is obtained and that you can show you comprehend what is happening. If someone isn’t of sound mind due to mental illness such as dementia, this will also add even more complications to the process. If you suffer from dementia, it’s important to create a document called a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA), which allows you to give someone you trust the authority to act on your behalf if you aren’t mentally fit to proceed.
Ensuring Your Will Is Free From Ambiguity
Due to the serious nature of the inheritance process, your executors will need to have perfectly clear guidance as to who they’re meant to distribute your estate to. Making sure your will is univocal, will help them to be certain of which parts of your estate and for which beneficiary. For example, if you were to state in your will that your home, of a particular address, was to be left to one of your children, but then you go on to sell that property and buy a new one before your death and fail to amend your will, the fate of your new property may be disputed between your beneficiaries. Because you only stated that a property which you no longer own was to be left to a specific person, the others could argue that you didn’t intend for the money from that sale, or the new property was intended to be left to that person. Make sure you make essential amendments to your will and review it regularly, especially when there are significant changes to your estate to avoid these problems.
How Can You Write Your Will At Home With Guidance?
Because of the recent pandemic, it’s become legally acceptable to use a Will kit at home or to have your will witnessed via webcam so that you don’t have to go somewhere in person. As stated before, many people are still avoiding physical interactions with others when they’re vulnerable and finding ways around this problem has become essential. It’s now possible to write a will from the comfort of your own home while receiving legal guidance as well as having your will signing witnessed, all via web cam from experts such as those at Elm Legal Services. It’s also perfectly feasible to make amendments to your will via video conference software too so that you can go through the whole process remotely, and then mail copies of those important documents to the relevant parties.
Making An Amendment To Your Will
Changing your will is not as simple as quickly editing it and hitting save. In fact, the process involves the same steps at officiating your original will. First, though, you’ll need to add something called a codicil to your will, which is an amendment that is attached to your original stating the intended changes. Either you can write this yourself, or you can ask your solicitor to write it for you. This will then need to be signed and witnessed just as before to confirm that these changes are legitimate. This prevents anyone from changing your will without your knowledge, and while it may be a tedious process, is worthwhile to ensure your estate is safe and can’t be tampered with. In some instances, especially if you have significant changes that need to be made to your wills, such as changes in property ownership and large increases in your savings, it may be worth just revoking your current will and creating a brand new one. This keeps everything in your will simple and free from excessive amendments.
How To Keep Your Will Safe
If you hide the sole copy of your will too well, then the whole process was for nought if nobody manages to find it. Keeping your will safe from prying eyes is recommended, as, depending on the people reading it, you may find that they could try to pressure or manipulate you to change it. Your will should be for your eyes only until you’ve passed away, and then should only be viewed by your solicitors and executors. Keep your will secure but obtainable in the event of your death. You could keep it in a safe and provide the code to those that require it, or you could allow your solicitor to keep hold of the original copy, who will store it safely for you and then provide you with a copy for you to peruse when needed.
What Happens If You Haven’t Written A Will Or Your Will Is Invalid After Your Death?
If you’ve taken great care of writing your will, the chances are this won’t be an issue. However, in some cases, there can be significant mistakes on a will that end up invalidating it, or perhaps it hasn’t been signed and witnessed officially. When this happens then your estate will become subjected to the rules of intestacy. This is where your estate is distributed among close relatives. If you don’t have any living blood relatives, are married, or in a civil partnership, then your estate will likely go to the Crown by law. This is why your will should be as accurate and complete as possible, as well as be thoroughly checked by a legal expert to identify any potential issues, especially if you’re leaving an inheritance to non-family members.