Can I write my own Will?
Yes, in theory, you can write your own Will. You do not need to use any special Will paper or Will form.
To be valid, the Will would need to be properly signed and witnessed by two adult independent witnesses who were both present at the time you signed your Will. Anybody who may benefit from the Will should not be a witness to the Will.
However, just because you are able to write your own Will doesn’t mean you necessarily should.
Problems With Home Made Wills
Get it wrong and you could be leaving a potential nightmare for your bereaved and grief-stricken friends and relatives to deal with. Choose to overlook an obvious beneficiary without explaining why, use words open to a different interpretation, or be ignorant of how the law operates in relation to your individual circumstacnes, and your final wishes may become a disaster.
When is it better not to write your own Will?
You should avoid the temptation to write your own Will if any of the following situations apply to your particular circumstances:
- If you have step-children;
- If you are not married to your partner;
- If you own property abroad or have foreign investments or bank accounts;
- If you own a business that you’re leaving to as a gift to someone in your Will;
- If there are people, other than your family, for whom you are providing financial assistance;
- If your Will includes any complex wishes or wishes that might be misunderstood;
You should bear in mind that, even if you can state your wishes in a few sentences, it may be quite a complex exercise to state them within your Will in a way which means they are able to be followed.
What are the risks of writing my own Will?
The words you use in your Will to say what you want to happen are very important. If you don’t use the correct wording, it could mean that your instructions don’t have the effect you think they will. For example, a gift you intended for one person could fail as a gift to that person and end up with another beneficiary entirely.
This could have the effect of upsetting the people you wanted to benefit, and causing disharmony or even long lasting damage to the relationships of family members.
The costs of sorting out your affairs may also be increased if your beneficiaries are not able to agree matters between themselves, so your family will receive less than you expected.
Lastly, you should bear in mind that if your Will is found to be invalid, your carefully made plans will fail and everything that would have passed under the terms of your Will will be distributed in accordance with the Intestacy rules.
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