D.I.Y wills

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tamirra | 10:24 Sat 07th Nov 2009 | Civil
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Hi, are the D.I.Y wills legal? Thanks


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If you have a simple family history that does not involve multiple partners or divorces, plus economic arrangements that don't extend beyond owning your own house in the UK plus a pension and few investments, there is much to be said for buying the Which? publications book (in Waterstones or similar) called 'Wills and Probate'. It tells you how to DIY for the cost of the book. Mine is a reprint from 2003 and it cost £10.99p at the time. Well worth the money. I hate spending money on solicitors at about £100 per hour if I don't have to, don't you?
As Buildersmate says,it can be done with the Which guide, provided you use the right unambiguous language and fully understand what your words mean in practice. When a man left 'all to mother' he knew what he meant. His widow was the mother of his children and known therefor as 'mother'. His mother thought differently. She was his mother and he called her 'mother' too. The ensuing litigation was costly.
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Any will is valid if it complies with the formalities prescribed by the Wills Act 1837 and the testator has testamentary capacity and intention to make a will. The formalities prescribed by the Wills Act are that it is in writing (although no necessarily on paper!), it is signed by the testator or by someone else in his presence and under his direction; the signature is made or acknowledged in the presence of two or more witnesses present at the same time and then that each witness attests and signs the will in the presence of the testator (but not necessarily each other).

The publication Buildersmate has referred to is very good, but only appropriate for simple wills. As other posters have pointed out though, home made wills are fraught with difficulties and a few quid saved at the making stage may well be lost later down the line when litigation ensues.
Wills drawn up by solicitors can be contested as well.
Yes tamborine, wills drafted by solicitors are contested but not because the wording is defective or ambiguous or a provision has no legal effect or has an effect different fom that intended by the testator. Wills are contested 1) because inadequate provision has been made for dependants 2) for duress or undue influence on the testator. The solicitor will take steps and advise to avoid both of these . There is a code of conduct whereby the solicitor is to satisfy himself that a wiil is not being changed or made without the testator's free and total understanding. And any solicitor will tell the client about the rights of dependants and do his best to avoid any claim that might arise, drafting the will in appropriate terms .
A wiil made without a solicitor is more readily challenged on these grounds, especially undue influence.
And if a solicitor drafted a will of no legal effect he or she could be sued by those wrongfully deprived.solicitors have professional insurance to cover such claims
Of course the Which? publication also advises on Fred's points under the sections entitled 'Problems with the testator' and 'Is the Will unfair?'
And it's still only a few squid, for all that useful information. If one has straight-forward affairs, of course.
Hi There,

We recently made Wills through a company that do home visits and we were very pleased with the service. We had a lady visit us and we ahd a thorough consultation. They also were able to offer services for Trusts ans Power of Attorney etc The prices were really low compared to our local solicitors and the service was really efficient. I would recommend this service to anyone looking to make a Will. tel: 0845 0773892
We used this company to make a Will and they came to our home. Not expensive and fully comprehensive. They also do low cost powers of attorney and trusts probate etc. 0845 0773892

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