If your estate is simple and you’re clear in your wishes, you can make a will yourself; there are, however, some requirements when using a DIY will to make the document legally binding.
Here’s a rundown so you don’t get caught out:
• The will must be made by someone 18 years old or older.
• The will must be made voluntarily and without pressure (see our blog on will making under duress for more).
• The will must be made by a person of sound mind.
• It must be made in writing and signed by the person making the will in the presence of two witnesses.
• The witnesses must also be 18 years old or older.
• The witnesses or the married partner of a witness cannot be a beneficiary of the will.
Naturally, as experienced solicitors, we always recommend that you have your will drafted by a reputable law firm to avoid any mistakes and ensure it reflects your wishes entirely. Writing a will can be complex, even if your estate is relatively straightforward. There are often elements that aren’t readily considered unless speaking with a knowledgeable professional, such as wishes for child arrangements or provisions for a business.
If a will isn’t legally valid upon a person’s passing, it can become a complicated affair to navigate. The will is deemed invalid, and your estate is shared according to the rules of intestacy and not how you had wished. At a difficult time for family, this process can be even more stressful to process.