You have made the decision to write your Scottish Will and you now have multiple choices as to the best way to proceed with this. You may write the Will itself either from an off the shelf Will writing stationary kit from any number of high street stores or from an automated online Will writing company, seek the services of a Professional Will Making Company or go down a traditional route and hire the services of (an often costly) solicitor.
It is a common though mistaken belief that a qualified solicitor must draw up and execute your Scottish Will. This is not the case. It is always advisable to use an expert in their own particular field and while you may use the services of a solicitor this does not make them experts in Wills and Estate Planning. Many are experts in conveyancing, divorce, corporate or family law.
Like most professions, each individual solicitor will be a specialist in their own particular field and whilst they will obviously have a working knowledge of your Scottish Will, you require and deserve to be advised by a specialist and will be advised as such at Willtrust Ltd, who only practice in Scottish Will and estate planning.
There may be times and circumstances when you will require the expert services of a solicitor and we can advise and would actively encourage you to do so if needed. However we are able to help you draw up and execute a valid Scottish correctly and with integrity and for normally a lower cost that that charged by any solicitor.
When writing a Scottish Will, small mistakes can and do lead to big problems. Yet many thousands of Scots choose to go down the Do-it-Yourself route or use automated online Will providers rather than use the services of a professional. The reason for this is that undoubtedly this is a cheaper option and they may save some cash. Many high street stores offer DIY off the shelf Will packages at a cheap cost.
Those who do take this route will often find that they have failed to comply with all of the legal requirements and typically stumble into one of the many pitfalls as you may expect of a non-professional. There is a very high chance that by taking this avenue to produce your Scottish Will, costly mistakes will inevitably be made, possibly leading to your estate and legacy’s being given to people who you would not want to be beneficiaries and those you do being omitted or ultimately by the Will itself becoming invalid. Unfortunately, you will not be around to sort out the ensuing mess you have created!
Writing ones Scottish Will requires a highly specialised skill set. If you have a fairly good understanding of Wills and the associated legalities when writing and executing such a document including witness requirements and where and when to sign within the testing clause thus giving the Will it’s self-proving status, along with the positioning of executors, beneficiaries, gifts and specific legacy’s and where they are positioned in the Will, what class are to receive these gifts or legacy’s and whether they are demonstrative or specific, vested or contingent and where you would position and who would benefit from a disaster clause, then such a DIY Will is for you!
The vast majority of the general public do not have such an understanding yet in order to save a few pounds will go down this route anyhow. Those of you unfamiliar with the law can and will make a mistake that may invalidate the entire document. Common errors of the high street DIY Will include:
- Failing to sign it (therefore it is as if you have not written a Will)
- Failure to execute the Will in relation to legal mandates
- Storing the Will and not letting your Executors know where it is and they cannot locate it
- Choosing a witness who is also a beneficiary
- Not choosing your Executors with care
- Not updating the DIY Will as your personal situation changes so not taking into account events such as birth, death, marriage or civil partnership
- Failure to adequately provide for dependents and for the provision of the distribution of all the deceased’s assets
- Invalid amendments. You cannot just make changes to a Will, a Codicil has to be created to reflect these changes or better still a new and therefore updated Scottish Will is created
There are many automated online Will sites where you can buy cheap Wills a fraction of the price that a professional may charge. Sounds great…..but really? Before you part with your cash to get these great bargains look at what you think you are actually buying and compare that to what you are actually buying.
You think you are buying a product that enables you to comply with your wishes and provide your loved ones with the toil of a lifetimes work. In actual fact you are buying a product that is automated, takes no account of your own individual circumstances, does not give you any advice in any way, shape or form and if you make a mistake when you enter your personal details online them tough, they will not take responsibility for your error and you have no comeback, you are dead!
All this for £30 quid…really?
Below is an example of any number of cheap Will websites that we have paraphrased their offerings and also we illustrate how pointlessness it is to take up their offer.
Making a Will is important yet many of us neglect to make this vital document due to our busy lives. Our state of the art Will writing program solves this in an instant giving you a cost effective solution. It is so easy to use! You can make up your will immediately, print it off and sign, all from the comfort of your own home. The benefits of using our service are:
- Low cost of 2 buttons and a dog biscuit
- Hi tech and user friendly computer program
- Print out your new Will immediately for when you want to sign it
- Privacy of doing this in your own home
Now their disclaimer:
In the event that you enter data incorrectly or any other error you make, whether it be an omission, improper signing, differing signatures or any other action that invalidates or makes your new Will ineffective to your requirements, we cannot and will not take responsibility or be held liable for these errors or omissions and there is no opportunity for legal redress. We do not have Professional Indemnity Insurance as we do not and have not given you any advice with regard to writing your Will.
This is the reality of a typical and cheap automated program. These online companies do not continue with professional development, carry any form of professional indemnity insurance and will not normally be part of any regulatory body. At Willtrust Ltd we are Members of the Scottish Institute of Professional Will Writers, carry up to £2 million professional indemnity insurance for each and every individual case so that in the unlikely event that something goes wrong them you know your family will be covered. We also take part in continuous professional development to keep up to speed with any changes within the legal profession.
By taking the cheap online option this course may ultimately end up costing your family a lot more in the long run. Solicitors make a lot of money every year from unhappy family members either attacking or defending badly drawn up Do-It-Yourself Wills. As with most things you get what you pay for. Do you really want to take the cheapest route with a lifetime worth of your assets that you thought you were going to leave to your family?
To receive qualified and ethical advice in relation to any aspect of your Scottish Will-Writing and Estate Planning requirements, please visit our contact page.