DIY Will packs can be purchased from many different stationers for a very low fee. The person buying the pack then writes their own Will in line with a Will Writing guide that is usually included in the pack.
Problems often occur however when a person attempts to make their desired wishes fit the framework of DIY Wills. Drafting errors can cause the Will to be open to misinterpretation, and may even render the Will useless. Lawyers make a lot more money sorting out badly drafted Wills and dealing with claims against those Wills than they make for drawing up Wills.
DIY is OK for home improvements but, unless you're extremely confident and knowledgeable, it's not for Wills.
Problems may also arise if the Will has not been correctly executed (signed and witnessed), which may result in the Will being declared invalid. A Will should always be signed and dated in the presence of two independent witnesses (who must not be named as beneficiaries in the Will, or married to the beneficiaries mentioned in the Will), and the independent witnesses must also sign their names on the Will in the presence of each other and the person making the Will.
By making a Will with a suitably qualified lawyer, many of these potential pit falls can be avoided and what's more - it doesn't cost the earth.
Points to consider when making Mirror Wills
- Who you would wish to appoint as executors and trustees
- Who you would wish to appoint as a guardian for your children if they are under the age of eighteen
- Whether you would like to leave any gifts of money or property (such as jewellery or other personal items) and if so, the full names and addresses of the beneficiaries
- Who you would like to receive the remainder of your estate in the event that you have both passed away
- At what age you would like minors to inherit. The legal minimum age is 18 however, this can be increased to say 21 or 25
- Whether you would like to include any funeral instructions such as burial or cremation