On the surface it would seem as though there are several good ways of obtaining a valid will. You can buy a DIY kit which gives you all the forms and advice you will need to do the job yourself, you can use an unqualified home visit or online service, or you can choose a qualified wills and probate solicitor. Probably the most important matter is to ensure that the document is properly drafted and following your death does not become a contested will involving disputed will solicitor.
It is a fact that a significant proportion of DIY wills are actually null and void as far as probate law is concerned and become the subject of disputed will litigation in a court of law. The one group of people who do well out of online and DIY wills and those prepared by unqualified draftsmen are disputed will solicitors who end up being called in to rectify the problems left behind by a badly written will.
Many people who want to save money by making their own will end up costing their beneficiaries substantial sums in disputed will litigation through not taking into account their responsibility to dependents or such life changing events as births, marriages, deaths and civil partnerships and even through making basic errors which may render the will unenforceable from its execution.
The choice of an executor is an important issue. Being an executor is a highly responsible job, which is why you need to make sure you choose someone who is willing and able to perform this duty for you upon your passing. You should also make sure that this person is agreeable to taking on this duty. Some people choose to elect their own solicitor as their executor but in the event that you select someone else for the job they will usually take the route of instructing a solicitor to oversee the whole process. An executor makes sure all the assets you leave behind are accounted for and then deducts any debts you have and pays them up in full before allocating the remaining amount among the beneficiaries of the will.
There are several pitfalls in particular which are commonly seen in wills that are written by someone who is not experienced in these matters. Typical errors which can lead to disputed will litigation include creating a will and not having it signed or witnessed in the proper fashion, forgetting to include every single asset the person owns or failing to provide for a dependant.
There are also occasions when your existing will needs to be changed or altered in some way. This could occur if a beneficiary dies, or if someone becomes married or divorced. Some people prefer to completely destroy their existing will and create a new one in its place, but it is possible to add what is known as a codicil to your current will – so long as it is done in the right way. Again, a solicitor will be able to help and advise you in this matter, to ensure the codicil is valid and will be recognised as being so upon your death.
Our disputed will solicitors talk plain English with no legal jargon and deal with probate, grants of administration and with contested probate in cases where the validity of a document is questioned, a will is lost or where someone not included as a beneficiary makes a claim. If you would like free initial legal advice either use the helpline or complete the form and a solicitor will discuss your case with you and give you free, no obligation advice. If we take your case on we use the no win no fee scheme.