Are you thinking about making a Will? If so, the Wills and Probate team at Painters Law LLP wants you to be aware of the 6 most common mistakes when writing a Will, so you don’t fall foul of the same errors! A Will is arguably the most important document you will ever sign, so it needs to be correct.
The law relating to Wills is complex, meaning there’s plenty of opportunity for a mistake to occur. On top of that, errors in Wills usually only come to light after the person has died. Such errors can lead to a loved one being disinherited; the contents of a Will being disputed or a Will deemed completely invalid.
- Forgetting to name an executor or naming an inappropriate executor
An executor is the person tasked with the responsibility of sorting out a deceased person’s estate and ensuring that the terms of the deceased person’s Will are carried out. They could be family or friends or a professional executor (a solicitor).
Is the executor you have named appropriate? Are they well enough to act? Are they willing to act? Do they live abroad or just simply don’t have the time to devote to the duties that this task will impose on them?
- Being too specific
Whilst a Will needs to be accurate and clear, being too specific can be detrimental if circumstances change, leading to potential disputes after your death. Take professional advice as to the wording to use in your Will to ensure your wishes are fulfilled.
- Wrong witnesses
Care should be taken in the selection of suitable witnesses. In order for a Will to be valid, it must be signed in the presence of two suitable people.
Choose the wrong witness and your Will will be declared invalid or the witness themselves find that they are not entitled to anything from your estate.
- Out of date Will
Big life events such as the birth of a child/grandchild, marriage or divorce, loss of a loved one, buying a new house, are all likely to have an impact on the content of your Will.
- Making a “home-made” Will
Putting your wishes down on paper is not enough for them to be legally binding. The language you use in a Will must not lead to ambiguity surrounding your intentions, otherwise it could lead to your wishes not being followed or the Will even being declared invalid.
- Not having a Will!
This is the biggest mistake of all! The rules of intestacy will dictate who will benefit from your estate if you don’t leave a Will. These rules list a hierarchy of people who are entitled to benefit from the estate. In most cases, it’s highly likely that the person(s) who inherit will not be who the deceased wanted to benefit from their estate.
So, to avoid your family and friends being left with a mess to sort out, be aware of these most common blunders to ensure your Will is mistake-free. If you’d like to speak to one of our Wills & Probate Team experts about their Will writing services, please contact us.