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The Dangers of DIY Wills: #1 - Witnessing

View profile for Emma Stride TEP
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Bargain Hunters Beware

We all love a good bargain! Whether it’s hitting the sales, a steal on eBay or raiding the reduced section at your local supermarket, nothing beats that feel-good ‘win’!

And there’s no doubt that the old proverb ‘look after the pennies and the pounds will look after themselves’ is a wise one to live by.

But it’s also worth thinking carefully about where you pinch those pennies, especially if saving a few pounds now risks losing thousands further down the line.

 

It can’t be that hard…

Having a will is really important if you want your savings and assets to be distributed in a particular way between particular people after your death.

Dying without a will is referred to as ‘intestate’, which means the law determines who will inherit your possessions, by the rules of intestacy (which, worryingly over a third of adults have never heard of).

OK, so you accept you need to sort your will – it sounds pretty easy and there’s plenty of cheap packages and online options, so why not do it yourself?

 

But are you an expert?

Research by Royal London has highlighted that a staggering 5.4million people in the UK who don’t already have a will, wouldn’t know where to begin if they were to write one.

And there lies the rub. We’re not all lawyers and we are not familiar with the intricacies of how the law works.

There are strict rules and guidelines to completing a valid will and the simplest of mistakes can cost huge sums to get right or potentially render it invalid.

And the worse thing? You wouldn’t even realise you’d made a mistake until it’s too late.

Take Mr Taylor…

 

A Lost Legacy

Having known each other for over 25 years, Mr Taylor and Mrs Clydesdale had a close platonic friendship.

As Mr Taylor’s health deteriorated and made him less mobile, Mrs Clydesdale became a more regular visitor, frequently helping by running errands and chores for Mr Taylor as well as keeping him company and caring for him.

With a modest estate and relatively simple wishes he wanted following in the event of his death, Mr Taylor had decided to write his own will in which he wanted to leave Mrs Clydesdale £25,000.

Mr Taylor had his will dated, signed and witnessed and believed it had been completed correctly.

Unfortunately, unbeknownst to Mr Taylor, by having Mrs Clydesdale’s husband (a beneficiary’s spouse) witness the document, he had unwittingly rendered the gift to Mrs Clydesdale null and void.

Sadly, following Mr Taylor’s passing, Mrs Clydesdale did not inherit one penny - the legacy did not take effect and instead the money passed to the residue of his estate which was gifted to someone else.

 

Be safe not sorry

Sorting your will can be both simple and straightforward, and need not cost the earth.

Sure, take a chance on that cute top that’s ‘not what you’d normally go for’, or that reduced seabass with today’s use-by date, but don’t take a chance on your will – it’s one of the most important documents you will ever sign so get it done properly and you can rest assured your final wishes will be followed.

We now offer two FREE weekly Wills, Trust & Probate drop-in clinics with Emma Stride (TEP) – pop in for a chat or more information on wills options and inheritance tax or call the office on 01606 48777 to make an appointment.

 

 

This is a real case SH&Co. study, however names have been changed to protect identities.

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