There are many things to consider when writing your Will. Whether to use a professional Will-writing service or write a DIY Will is one of the considerations. If you choose to write your own Will, there are a number of things you must do in order to make sure it is legally valid.
The most important thing that you need to do when writing your own Will is make sure you know what the law requires. If you do not do this correctly, your Will may be invalid or ineffective.
To be valid, a DIY Will, or holograph Will, as it is known in legal terms, must be executed in accordance with the requirements of section 9 of the Wills Act 1837. In this, the Will must be “Signed by the testator (the person making the Will) with the intention of it giving effect to their Will in the presence of two witnesses, who each sign the Will in the presence of the testator.” There are new rules due to the pandemic, which state you may now also use video witnessing for your Will.
You also need to be of sound mid to write your Will. It is important when writing your Will as it proves that what you write in your Will is what you actually want.
You must also make sure that, when you write your Will, you use terminology that is clear and avoids ambiguity in the eyes of the law. The Will must clearly state your wishes and you must use the correct terminology to avoid the Will being found to be invalid.
What Needs to go in a DIY Will?
If you choose to write your own Will, there are a number of things that you must include. These things are:
- Your personal information (full name, current address, date of birth, details of any children you have and their dates of birth, relationship status)
- Your estate (the items of value you own, either alone or joint with someone else. This includes property, accounts, stocks and shares, or any foreign property)
- Any debts
- Your beneficiaries (including the names and addresses of the beneficiaries)
- If you wish to leave any gifts to charity
- Your executors (you can choose one or more than one)
- Legal guardians for your children (if you have any under 18)
- Your other wishes (such as Trustees or funeral wishes)
If A DIY Will is Invalid
When a DIY Will is invalid, then the previous Will, if there was one, would be the legal Will. If there is no previous Will, then the Rules of Intestacy come into effect. These rules place family members in order of who should inherit your estate. This order is decided by the law. It can also lead to lengthy legal disputes for families. So it is vital to make sure that your Will is written exactly how it would be if you used a professional Will-writing service.
How we can help
Here at The Inheritance Experts, we work with solicitors who have years of experience in dealing with all manner of inheritance cases. This includes issues with DIY Wills. Contact us today by filling in our contact form or by calling us on to speak to one of our friendly knowledgeable advisors.