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There is no debating the importance of a will. The legal document allows an individual to decide what will happen with their estate upon death. Dying without a will could mean that your wishes are not adhered to, with certain friends and loved ones unable to benefit from your estate. 

This article will clear up some frequently asked questions regarding the formation of a will and the necessity of professional legal advice within the process. For guidance tailored to your circumstances, contact watersrule solicitors now.

Do I need to use a lawyer to write a will?

It is possible to write your own will, however, the risk of making a mistake heavily outweighs the cost of seeking professional advice. While there is nothing illegal about writing your own will, a ‘DIY will’ may not meet the legal requirements. Should this happen, your will could be considered invalid and the intestacy rules could apply. 

A badly drafted will is likely to contain simple errors - such as failing to mention all property owned or what should happen if a beneficiary predeceases you - that could otherwise be avoided with the help and expertise of a wills solicitor. Even the smallest oversight in the document can lead to complex legal issues or court proceedings that could reduce the value of your overall estate. 

Private client solicitors provide legal advice to individuals and families on a number of different matters such as wills, executries, Power of Attorney, and so on. Instructing the help of a private client lawyer gives you access to well rounded and precise guidance about writing your will and managing your estate. 

Does a solicitor need to be a witness to my will?

While it is not necessary for a solicitor to witness the signing of your will, it’s important to know the benefits of doing so. If the validity of your will is ever questioned, your witness could be asked to testify about the circumstances in which the will was signed. In such cases, having a credible person as your witness could prove beneficial. 

For the will itself to be legally binding in Scotland, you will need to sign the will on each page and also have one independent witness. It’s worth noting that there are certain people who ought not to witness your will, including beneficiaries to the will as well as your spouse or civil partner. 

Can a lawyer advise me on what to put in my will?

A solicitor can and should advise you as to what should be included in your will. Fundamentally, the solicitor should explain every option you could take with regards to writing your will and put your interests at the forefront of any decision making. A specialist wills lawyer can ensure you make the most effective choices for your circumstances. Instructing the help of a solicitor will allow you to move forward with confidence.

Does the solicitor keep a copy of the will?

If you have instructed the help of a lawyer to draft your will, they will almost always keep the original copy at their premises and provide you with a copy. This is advisable as solicitors are well regulated and have procedures in place should the will get damaged. 

You should always clarify with your chosen solicitor about this, as there will most likely be a fee for storing the will. If the will is being stored with a solicitor but they did not write it, there may be further costs. Will-writing providers outside of the legal profession may also offer storage services, however, this is likely to be less regulated than an independent solicitor. 

Alternatively, you could store the original copy yourself at home. If doing so, make sure you tell your executor exactly where it is so they know when they are required to distribute your estate. Nevertheless, storing the will at home presents risks such as it being accidentally damaged or thrown away.  

Contact our Wills Solicitors Stirling & Tillicoultry

If you are looking to write a will and would like the help of a specialist team, contact us now. At watersrule, we can provide legal guidance and advice on all matters related to will-writing, updating your will, and many other estate administration services. 

Speak with our approachable wills and executry team today at our offices in Stirling 01786 235 235, and Tillicoultry 01259 753 330, or fill in our online enquiry form and we will get back to you without delay.

Please note that watersrule solicitors ARE NOT registered to provide Legal Aid or other types of Legal Financial Assistance.

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Michael, Tillicoultry