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Are Wills from WHSmith legal?

Posted on Friday, 11th September 2015 by

Yes, in short, if you use a DIY Will Kit from WHSmith (or any other shop), they are in fact legal.the law

Be careful with DIY Wills

If you do decide to use a DIY Will Kit you have to be extremely careful. It is easy to make one or two mistakes and this could result in the document not being legally binding. For example, when reading the guidance notes make sure that you know how to sign it correctly. If it is not signed correctly this could raise further issues surrounding validity.

DIY Wills are unclear

Unsure about doing it yourself? Perhaps you have a particularly large estate and you want to make sure your Will is written correctly. In this case, the safest option is to employ the services of an experienced solicitor. The trouble with a DIY kit is that the majority of the time it is not clear what you have to do, and unfortunately, when the time comes to distribute your estate it’s a bit too late to ask you what your wishes were.

A solicitor has the knowledge and experience of drawing up a Will correctly. They can ensure that your wishes are clear and that provisions have been set in place to make sure that everyone you wanted to benefit does, without any disputes. Terms such as ‘my children’ may not include step children or children that were not yet alive at the date that you made the document. Solicitors are able to write your Will in such a way that all your wishes are made clear and nothing can be misinterpreted.

DIY Wills and the residue of your estate

Another mistake that is made when using a DIY Will Kit is not dealing correctly with the residue of your estate; this is what is left over when you have given away specific gifts. If you do not deal with the residue then you could be left with a partial intestacy, which would defeat the object of writing one in the first place. This is because there are certain rules that surround this situation. A solicitor can ensure that you Will abide to these certain rules.

Do you have children under 18?

children

When seeing a solicitor about writing a Will they can also help you make provision for children under the age of 18. Perhaps you want to leave money to them but don’t want them to have access until they are 21. This can be done by using a trust. Trusts can be complicated and if it is not done right, then you could end up leaving your children with nothing. Solicitors can ensure that this does not happen, they can also advise you on inheritance tax, something that you may have to think about if your estate exceeds the threshold of £325,000.

Is a DIY Will Kit right for me?

If you still want to go down the DIY route, these kits are best suited for those who want to leave behind a small and simple inheritance. They do come with guidance notes that you can follow when writing your wishes, to help cut out some of the guess work.

If you found this article helpful we would recommend reading our previous blog, ‘Fake Wills‘.

However, if you want to be absolutely certain that your Will is valid it’s best to seek advice from a solicitor to avoid complications in the future. If you would like advice please don’t hesitate to contact me (my details are to the left of the page) or call the Will team on 0800 999 8889.

Talk to our legal team

The information provided in all of our blogs reflects only a narrative of some elements to consider on the topic. The blogs do not contain considered legal advice and should not be relied upon as advice. Please see our website terms and conditions for full details of our disclaimer. If you are interested in obtaining advice, please contact one of our lawyers who will be happy and able to advise you on your own particular circumstances.

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Emma Fuller - Wills, Probate and LPA
Emma Fuller - Wills, Probate and LPA
emma.f@ehlsolicitors.co.uk 01509 212 108
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