The risks of DIY wills
Posted on 3rd April 2018
Costing as little as £20, a 'Do It Yourself' (DIY) will bought online or from a stationers might seem like a tempting option. They are certainly becoming more popular.
However, there’s growing concern that people might be accidentally disinheriting their families and friends.
Even if you think that everything is straightforward in your life, here are just a few of the things you should consider when planning your will:
1. Witnesses - One common problem is asking someone who is a beneficiary of your will to be a witness to the signature. This will automatically prevent them from receiving anything from your estate, regardless of what you have said in your will.
2. Changing circumstances - Even if you have a valid will it will no longer apply if you get married. However, if you get divorced your will is not automatically revoked.
3. Inheritance tax - Assets passing to your husband or wife are exempt from inheritance tax. However, for unmarried couples inheritance tax will be an important consideration. In some cases assets might need to be sold to pay the inheritance tax bill or to raise funds for other beneficiaries.
It’s also important to remember that inheritance tax needs to be paid before probate is granted. This can mean that Executors need to raise money for inheritance tax before access to funds within the estate is granted. Not only that; with last year’s changes to the inheritance tax threshold concerning property, things have become even more confusing for people to understand clearly.
4. Property - Many people aren’t clear about the implications of co-owning a property. Co-ownership might be as joint tenants or as tenants in common. If you have a joint tenancy you will each own the whole property. In this case the property automatically passes to the survivors when one joint tenant dies, regardless of their will. Tenants in common own specific shares of the property that can be bequeathed in a will.
5. Foreign assets - If you have assets overseas you will need a separate will to cover them. To be sure that this will doesn’t revoke your UK will it’s important to include a clause that makes this clear.
If you would like some advice to be sure your wishes are properly included in your will please get in touch.
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