What to avoid when making a Will?

Unfortunately, mistakes are normally found after the person who has made the Will has died. This leaves the grieving family with the awful task of trying to rectify the errors during an already extremely stressful time. 

The laws around Wills are complex and can sometimes be challenged, so it is very important that they are correctly drafted by a legal professional. There are several things that need to be avoided so that the Will isn’t declared invalid at some point.

1. Mistakes with witnesses

A Will is invalid if it is not correctly witnessed and signed by two witnesses who are UK citizens and over the age of 18 years. They must also not stand to inherit anything from the Will. Both
witnesses need to be present at the time of signing the Will or it will be deemed void. It’s therefore important to avoid asking a child or partner to act as a witness, as this could disinherit them from the Will.

2. Choosing the wrong executors

Executors are important because they will carry out the wishes of the deceased and deal with the administration of the estate. In most cases, they are family members and/or friends of the
deceased. It would therefore be a bad move to appoint an executor(s) who feels they haven’t got the capacity or time to administer the estate. Similarly, delays may occur if someone who lives abroad is appointed and they feel that they just don’t have the time to deal with the estate.

3. Making a Will under duress

Legal disputes could occur if the Will is contested because someone challenges whether the
deceased made the Will voluntarily or was under duress at the time of writing it. It is therefore
important that the person writing the Will (testator) avoids doing so under any “undue influence.”

4. Forgetting key assets

Most people remember the key assets such as the house, car, bank accounts and personal
possessions, but often forget to dispose of any other property not specifically dealt with in the Will.

In this instance, it’s important not to avoid having a “residue” clause which will cover all the other
assets in your estate ensuring they go to family and loved ones.

5. Being too vague

This may lead to confusion or potential family disputes, especially if your wishes are not clearly
articulated and made absolutely clear. If the language is ambiguous, it could lead to instructions not being correctly followed or even the Will being declared invalid. Equally, being too specific should be avoided and could lead to disputes. For instance, if you leave the family car to someone and then it is subsequently sold before death, would the person who was left the car be expected to receive a cash equivalent or a replacement car?

6. Not updating the Will

It’s important to avoid leaving the Will without amending it for long periods of time. Reviewing your Will every 3-5 years, in order to reflect a change to family or personal circumstances, makes sense, especially if someone in the Will has died or there are new additions to the family. 
This way, you can ensure that your current wishes are reflected in the amended Will.

There are so many things to avoid if you want your Will to truly reflect your wishes without it being declared invalid. In order to prevent any of the many pitfalls that could arise, it’s
important to get professional legal help rather than attempting to do it yourself.

How can GloverPriest help?

At GloverPriest, we provide friendly and transparent legal advice. If you would like further advice on a Will, please don’t hesitate to speak to one of our expert lawyers today. Complete our enquiry form.

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At GloverPriest, we understand navigating the law can be a difficult task to take on alone. That’s why we created this comprehensive guide to help promote information for everyone to use.

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