When you are drawing up a will, it is usually better to work with a solicitor that handles this type of work. An estate planning solicitor can answer your questions so you can ensure a fair dispersal of your inheritance.
Why You Should Consult with a Lawyer
Some people ask solicitors dealing with wills if they can handwrite their will. Whilst handwriting a will is not normally done, it is still valid, as long as the will is in writing. A will, itself, is a document that establishes how your property will be distributed when you die. If you don’t draw up a will and sign it, your wishes may not be fulfilled. To ensure that the will is executed as planned, you need to engage the services of a lawyer.
A lawyer can help you structure your estate and help you draft the will. You may also draft your own will by using a will kit. However, using the services of a lawyer is better, as he or she can help you comply with specific requirements.
What Happens If Your Will Is Invalid?
If your will turns up being invalid, the distribution of your estate will be made in accordance with any will you made prior to the creation of the current will. If you did not draw up a will before, your estate will be distributed in accordance with the rules for intestacy.
You can handwrite or type your will, and it will still be valid, provided you sign and date it. The person who writes or types the will is known as the testator. Two witnesses must be present at the will signing, and must witness the testator signing the will. The names and contact address of each witness should be printed clearly below each of their signatures.
Solicitors usually advise that the testator (the person initiating the will) sign at the bottom of the individual pages, including the attestation clause that appears on the last page of the document. Changes generally are not made after the signing of a will. However, if any are made, they should be initialled by the testator and the two witnesses, all in each other’s presence.
It is important to work with a lawyer when creating a will, as you may need to update it. Usually, updates are made after the occurrence of a major event in life, such as a divorce, separation, marriage, or the birth of a child. The will may also be updated if the testator retires or his or her spouse or partner dies. Certain events will change the status of a will. For instance, a marriage revokes a previous will and a divorce will revoke any distributions you wish to make to your former spouse.
When you update a will, it revokes a prior will, thus, making the update current and legal. Needless to say, you will have an easier time if you confer with a solicitor, regardless of the size of your estate. Working with a solicitor will help ensure that your legacy continues, and that the people you leave behind are equitably treated.