♫ The moment I wake up, before I put on my make-up, I say a little prayer ♫ . . . that today a home-made Will does not land on my desk…

I fully understand why people might avoid the thought of making a Will, but a conversation with an expert is pretty stress-free and will actually put your mind at rest. Having a go at a Will at home really does not save money. An invalid or ambiguous Will, or one that does not make careful provision for family and dependants, will cost far more in the long run.

A home-made will might contain all sorts of inconsistencies or vague sentiments, and it may be in less than perfect physical condition, which can affect its validity. It also may not be fully legible, and your wishes may be misinterpreted when it comes to the distribution of your assets and estate.

So below are a couple of examples of things we’ve seen people do that we strongly recommend NOT TO DO:

  • Use Tippex on a Will
  • Fail to deal with who inherits the “residue” of your estate
  • Make crossings out or amends to the Will after it has been completed

Particularly with manual amendments those updated wishes may not be seen as valid, possibly negating the whole Will if the original is then indecipherable.

And here are some things you should definitely do when creating a Will:

  • Store the Will securely and carefully (ideally not in the sofa!)
  • Make sure it has been signed in accordance with the correct legal procedure
  • Seek advice on whether the Will suits your family and financial situation
  • Ensure there is no room for doubt over your wishes to minimise the risk of family members or friends contesting the Will – this can create a lengthy and expensive legal process for all those involved

This is an incredibly unique story and while Aretha and I may disagree on the best way to leave a Will, she will always have my respect as a musical legend. She is a great loss to us all.

If you require any advice on either making a will or disputing a will, please contact the Trusts & Estates or Contentious Probate Teams at Talbots Law by calling 0800 118 1500