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Home Made Wills and why you shouldn’t do them


We are currently having trouble with yet another estate because of a home made Will.  They are rapidly becoming the death of me. A home made Will is exactly as it sounds:  you either write the Will yourself, or you buy a pack from a newsagent (or some other equally qualified person) and fill in the blanks in the forms they ask you to complete. As far as I can see, there are two advantages to these Wills: <ol> <li>They are slightly cheaper (circa £30 I think at last glance) than going to see a solicitor.</li> <li>They are probably less intimidating than the thought of going to the solicitors’ office.</li> </ol> The first point I should make is that going to see your solicitor should not be intimidating.  It should be an easy chat, where you ask a few questions and you are given some choices.  It should take around 45 minutes to an hour at the first appointment, and from then on it should be plain sailing and wrapped up in around two weeks. The second point is that these home made documents miss the big concerns.  I will explain what I mean by this by way of the latest example to show up at our offices. An elderly couple make a home made Will.  Their home is jointly owned by the couple and the husband’s daughter (the wife’s step-daughter), so they make Wills saying their shares in the home will go to each other when one of them dies. Husband sadly has passed away.  Wife goes to see the solicitor to have the property registered as being owned two thirds by her, and one third by the step-daughter.  But this cannot be done.  The property is owned as “joint tenants”, which means that the property is now owned 50-50 between the surviving two owners.  This is the law I am afraid, and without the step-daughter’s say-so we cannot do anything about this.  Funnily enough, the home made Will pack said nothing about this…and unsurprisingly step-daughter will not agree to give up her larger than expected share in the home. If the couple had seen a solicitor for their Wills, this could have been avoided. If you need any advice about <a href=”http://www.fidler.co.uk/wills>making a Will</a> then get in touch. Richard

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