News

Why Do I Need a Solicitor to Write a Will?
October 23, 2023

There has been an increase in contentious probate claims in recent years. Several factors have contributed to this rise, with an ageing population, the cost-of-living crisis and a heightened willingness to contest a will all playing a part.

An increase in homemade and poorly drafted wills has also opened the door to more disputes.

A will is an important legal document that everyone should have. Making a will is crucial to ensure that your estate is distributed to the people and organisations you wish to benefit from your assets after you die.

However, a badly written or ill-thought-out will can have an adverse effect and can leave an estate open to challenges further down the line that might prove costly.

In this blog, our Wills solicitors consider the dangers of a DIY approach to will writing and reveal why you should always use a lawyer to write your will.

1. Ensures a will is drafted professionally and accurately.

A will must meet certain legal requirements and must be written carefully to ensure your intentions are not left open to misinterpretation.

Specialist will-writing solicitors have extensive experience drafting wills and can ensure that a will meets the legal rules required for it to be valid.

Many wills disputes result from unclear wording. A lawyer experienced in writing wills can ensure it is drafted clearly to accurately reflect your wishes.

2. Guarantees all bases are covered.

One size does not fit all when it comes to will writing. People’s circumstances differ, our assets vary, and we all have different ideas about what we want to happen after we die.

A lawyer will invest the time to get to know your situation and ensure your will is tailored to your requirements and drafted to meet your needs.

A lawyer’s input can be particularly valuable if your affairs are not straightforward or your estate is more complex. A solicitor can help you consider issues that are often overlooked and provide expert guidance on issues you may not have thought of, such as if:

  • You share a property with someone who is not your wife, husband, or civil partner.
  • You have a dependent who cannot care for themselves.
  • You own property overseas.
  • You run a business.
  • Your permanent home is not in the UK.
  • You want to look after any stepchildren and other extended family members.
  • You need to protect your children’s interests, for example, by appointing a legal guardian or establishing a trust.
  • What happens if any of your beneficiaries die before you.

3. Reduces the likelihood of future claims.

Seeking the advice of a legal professional to assist in writing your will reduces the chances of it being contested after your death.

There are several recent examples of online wills being challenged in the UK courts on various grounds. A judge at the High Court in a case in August expressly referred to the absence of a solicitor in drafting the will as being a major contributory factor in the dispute.

A solicitor will ensure that your will is valid and drafted accurately to minimise the chance of a future claim.

In addition, an experienced lawyer will also make sure that you are protected from any potential Inheritance Act claims. If you plan to leave a close family member out of your will, you must take extra precautions. The Inheritance Act 1975 gives certain individuals the right to claim against your estate if you fail to provide for them in your will.

A will-writing lawyer can advise on exactly what you need to do.

4. Better protection.

Solicitors are regulated and have the qualifications and training to address the often-complex issues associated with drafting a will.

Regulated professionals must have professional indemnity insurance, which provides an extra layer of protection for clients in case of any errors or negligence.

This consumer protection is not a requirement for unregulated will writers.

5. Can be part of wider estate planning.

Private Client solicitors can advise on other relevant steps that need to be taken to protect you, your interests, your wishes, your family and your estate.

With the specialist skill and knowledge of an experienced legal professional, you can also plan to mitigate your tax liability, allowing you to leave more behind for your loved ones.

Private Client Lawyers Marylebone

Whether your intentions are simple and involve leaving your entire estate to your spouse or more complex, such as involving overseas assets or setting up trusts, Muscatt Black Graf can assist.

Our specialist Private Client lawyers have extensive experience in all aspects of estate planning. We can advise on wills, trusts, probate, and other inheritance issues to ensure your affairs are managed tax efficiently.

We advise individuals on all aspects of will drafting and issues affecting wills and provide inheritance tax planning advice. We care about providing tailored advice to meet your requirements.

For more information, please call 0207 586 1141 or email contact@muscattblackgraf.com. Alternatively, click here to fill in our online contact form.

This blog was prepared on 2 October 2023. It is not intended to be advice and should not be relied upon as such.

Related News

What are Residential Property Searches?

One of the key stages of buying a residential property is undertaking ‘searches’. In this blog, our Residential Property lawyers answer some frequently asked questions about the searches undertaken during a residential property purchase. What are searches? Searches...

read more