Looking for expert help to avoid common will-writing mistakes?
There are many mistakes that people can make when creating a Will. One of the most common mistakes is the failure to properly sign and witness the Will. All Wills must be signed, dated and witnessed on the last page in order to be valid. The witness to a Will must be over 16 and not be related to the testator. They should also have the capacity to understand what they are doing – i.e. be of sound mind.
The witness can be a beneficiary of the Will and the Will will still be valid, however the gift to the witness will fail. In Scotland, Wills also need to be signed by the testator on every page of the document, including the last page again, in order for it to be valid.
Another common mistake when making a Will is that gifts left to people fail as they have not been sufficiently detailed in the Will. A Will should be carefully worded to ensure that gifts left behind are items that the testator has in their possession when they die or items that should be bought by the executors for the beneficiaries. For example, “I give my gold ring to…” specifies that the testator owns a gold ring that should be given to the beneficiary. If the testator does not own a gold ring when they die, then the gift will fail. However, “I give a gold ring to…” does not specify whether the testator actually owns a gold ring or not and would see the executors having to buy a gold ring for the beneficiary if the testator did not actually own one at the time of their death.
It is important that a Will is written by a professional Will Writer, for example, a member of the Society of Will Writers. This will ensure that common Will-writing mistakes are avoided and that the quality of the Will can be assured.
By having a professionally-written Will, you can ensure peace of mind in knowing that your affairs are in order and that any complications that could have arisen as a result of not having a Will or making a homemade Will are avoided after your death.