10 Ways Writing Your Own Will can go Wrong

Posted 12 April 2018 by Richard Tinkler

I have written before about the importance of writing a Will, and about the dangers of writing a DIY Will.  In this article, I am going to mention just 10 things that can go wrong if you write your own Will.  Taking professional advice is important when writing such an important document.  Please note: this list is not exhaustive!
  1. The Will may not cover funeral wishes.  Funeral wishes are not an absolutely essential clause and not having funeral wishes will not invalidate a Will per se but it is a sensible idea to include funeral wishes in a Will so as to make clear your intentions as to how your body is to be disposed of after your death together with details of any funeral service you would like.
  2. Not selecting any backup executors.  Choosing an executor, or executors, is obviously essential when making a Will, but failing to select backup executors if the main executors predecease you or cannot act is very important.
  3. Not describing beneficiaries correctly.  A gift of a sum of money to ‘my friends’ will obviously be unclear as to who will actually inherit.
  4. Not describing physical items correctly.  A gift of ‘my favourite car’ to a specific person will obviously cause problems if the deceased had more than one car.
  5. Mathematical problems.  A gift of 40% to one person, 40% to another person, and 30% to someone else is clearly to be avoided.
  6. Not signing the Will.  This is self-explanatory!
  7. The Will being signed, but not being witnessed.  Again, this is self-explanatory!
  8. The Will being witnessed by one person.  This will invalidate the Will – the signing of a will needs two witnesses!
  9. The Will being witnessed by two witnesses, but one witness is ineligible to be a witness.  An example of this is a beneficiary witnessing the signing of a Will.
  10. The Will being lost.  This is another point which needs no introduction.  At Capron & Helliwell, we offer to store clients’ Wills free of charge.
I will reiterate that this list is not exhaustive and there are many other ways in which the preparation of a Will can go wrong.  If you have made a homemade Will and want a solicitor to look over it, or if you have not made a Will and want to make one, please contact Capron & Helliwell’s Stalham office on 01692 581 231 or the Helliwell House office in Wroxham on 01603 783818.
This article was written on 12 April 2018.
This article aims to supply general information but it is not intended to constitute advice.  Every effort is made to ensure that the law referred to is correct at the date of publication and to avoid any statement which may mislead.  However, no duty of care is assumed to any person and no liability is accepted for any omission or inaccuracy.  Always seek specific advice. 

Capron & Helliwell Solicitors offer a range of legal services at the firm’s Stalham and Wroxham offices near North Walsham and Norwich in Norfolk. The firm specialises in areas including family law, conveyancing and private client law including wills and probate. Capron & Helliwell Solicitors offer initial fixed fee family law appointments – please call 01692 581231 for further details or to make an appointment.

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