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Do it yourself will kits

(17 Posts)
somuchforanindiansummer Wed 03-Oct-12 15:39:13

Can anyone give me some unbiased advice on do-it-yourself will kits like this kind of thing:

I have read various guides on doing your will - some are obviously selling legal services and so of course advise you to get it done professionally. However, a couple of guides on doing it yourself have included info on how to make sure your will is valid, and it does sound fairly straightforward, so I don't see what the need for a solicitor actually is (apart from to keep solicitors in business grin ). The template included in the DIY kit is very simple indeed so it is hard to see where any problems could arise, and we are just leaving everything to each other so there are no complications there.

So can anyone tell me what the difference would be if we got a solicitor to do it instead...?

Collaborate Wed 03-Oct-12 16:07:37

If you mess it up then it's on your head (or rather the head of your bereaved spouse). If you want to save yourself £150 or whatever then go ahead. Us solicitors will still make our money (and much more of it in fact) dealing with the fall out.

Solicitors can give advice that you simply won't get in a will pack - e.g. potential claims under the Inheritance Act.

But I wouldn't want to talk you out of doing a DIY one. Doubtless many people use them and there isn't a problem. But when they're not done propely it is very expensive to put right.

Sabriel Wed 03-Oct-12 16:22:39

I thought our affairs were really straightforward until we spoke to a solicitor.

Really a bad will is worse than not having one. November is Will Aid month and you can have your wills drawn up properly by a solicitor for a donation of £85.

We did it a couple of years ago. It was really easy and we are happier that our wills are done.

somuchforanindiansummer Wed 03-Oct-12 16:52:02

Collaborate - I'm taking it you're a solicitor... I guess what I'm asking is what kind of things would constitute 'messing it up' or 'not doing it properly'. As I said, on the face of it, it looks very straight forward, so I'm trying to find out what it is that makes it advisable to use a solicitor smile

Tiago Wed 03-Oct-12 16:59:38

The usual mistakes are things like people having a beneficiary witness the will signing, or trying to impose unworkable conditions on people inheriting. There are also a fair few general rules that you need to consider that are imposed by statute/common law.

There is also a good reason to use a solicitor (aside form the legal knowledge) - if they screw up your beneficiaries can probably sue them to set things right (this has been done before).

MOSagain Thu 04-Oct-12 10:01:43

DO NOT DO IT £125 - £150 is money well spent to get a will properly drafted and executed.

I have known of cases where people have done the DIY wills and they (or the surviving spouse) has then found out years down the line they were not valid. There are very strict rules and guidelines for the executing of wills and they must be followed or there is a risk that the will won't be valid or it will be valid but certain gifts will not.

I can highly recommend mumblechum1 who is a qualified lawyer and runs a will writing business. She charges significantly less than a High Street firm would charge and has an advert in small businesses (classifieds). I know a lot of Mners have used her and been very happy.

stopcallingmefrank Thu 04-Oct-12 11:01:59

The problem is - if it's not done right, you won't know until one of you has died. At that stage, you will be a bereaved widow, dealing with the grief, your life has changed forever. It's not an easy time. In addition, you will have the headache of storting out the problems with the will and unnecessarily-complicated estate, possibly having to pay lots of legal fees to get it sorted. I wouldn't want to take that risk, or risk putting my dp in the situation. Bereavement is bad enough.

Lilymaid Thu 04-Oct-12 11:37:11

If you think that most couples' estates must be worth several hundred thousand pounds it seems silly to risk getting it wrong just to save a small amount of money. I haven't used Mumblechum but she seems to be highly rated on MN and she charges: £100 for a single, £150 for a couple.
(I've been an executrix of three wills and know from experience that things aren't always as straightforward as one might think).

somuchforanindiansummer Thu 04-Oct-12 12:11:54

TBH I was expecting lots of responses saying don't do it, it's not much to spend for peace of mind, you should always get a solicitor to deal with legal issues, etc etc. But what I want to know is why - what are these things that cause unexpected problems, why might a DIY will turn out not to be valid (if you have followed the very straightforward instructions in a guide), how exactly can you go wrong if you just fill in the blanks in a straightforward template?

I'm not suggesting there aren't potential problems with DIY, but what I want to know is what are they?!

lovechoc Thu 04-Oct-12 12:29:13

We got ours done this year. Yes, it's pricey, but it's money worth spending for the peace of mind. It's all done, but will need reviewing if circumstances change...

lovechoc Thu 04-Oct-12 12:29:49

Sorry, meant to say we got ours done with our solicitor.

lovechoc Thu 04-Oct-12 12:30:59

I think our fee was around £120. We expected to pay this amount.

RillaBlythe Thu 04-Oct-12 12:31:16

We did our wills with Mumblechum a year ago - it was so easy, a phone call to chat thro & a couple of emails. Job done.

mumblechum1 Thu 04-Oct-12 12:41:48

Thanks for all the plugs guys!

OP, typical things are:

Inheritance Tax - do you know what the thresholds are, and the main ways of minimising your liability?
Guardianship - do you understand the main things to consider when appointing someone to look after your children?
Executors - ditto, and do you understand why it would generally not be a good idea to have the same person in both roles? Do you know the optimal number of executors and whether they should also act as Trustees?
Do you know how to correctly ensure that the Guardians' expenses come out of the trust fund appropriately?
Do you understand the tax implications of deciding at what age your children should inherit?
Do you know whether your wills should be mutual or non-mutual?
Do you understand whether to make any gifts of personal possessions in the will or a separate letter of wishes?
Do you know who can and can't witness your wills, and what would make the wills invalid?
Do you know the best, ie safest and cheapest place to store your wills?

If the answers to all of these questions are yes, then go ahead and make a DIY will; if not, have a mosey onto my paid for advert on Small Business Classifieds, (Marlow Wills) smile or any other qualified lawyer.

somuchforanindiansummer Thu 04-Oct-12 13:20:10

Phew, thank you mumblechum ! Good to get some of the answers I was looking for!

dilbar Thu 31-Dec-15 11:33:29

Well, I know this thread hasn't been commented on for a while but as there are solicitors on here praising themselves a couple of comments:
I have been asked by my Mum to arrange a codicil replacing her now retired solicitor with myself and my sister as executors. When reading through her will (25 years old) I saw that her name typed in at the bottom against which she had signed it has an incorrect middle name. So is the will in-valid?
My will (& my husbands mirror will) - has two different paragraphs with different executors. It says nothing about passing on my share of property owned as tenants in common directly to the children - which is what we wanted. My situation would be better if we tear up the will and die intestate as some of the property would go straight to the kids - as we wanted.
The moral of the story is - don't trust the solicitor to be right and read thoroughly before signing.

Collaborate Thu 31-Dec-15 13:33:36

dilbar Does the will say what should happen to the residue of the estate?

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