How to make your Will ‘legally binding’
  • Helen Claydon

How to make your Will ‘legally binding’



The truth is, we should all have a Will. After all, we all have a right to say what happens to us, our loved ones and our estate when we pass away. However, to make sure that your Will stands strong when it matters you need to make sure that it is legally binding.


Unfortunately telling your loved ones what you want to happen isn’t enough. For it to be legally binding, so that your loved ones can follow your wishes, they must be documented in the correct format as laid down in legislation.


The Myth

Many people believe that writing a legally binding Will has to cost hundreds of pounds and is a lengthy process. The reality is quite different!


So, what is the truth?

Whether you choose to complete your Will online, over the phone, or if you meet someone in person, all options will lead to a Will that needs to be printed and signed. To comply with legislation, this signing needs to be done in front of two witnesses. What is vital here is that the witnesses you choose are not beneficiaries of your Will or married to beneficiaries. If this is the case, then they will not be able to receive any gifts that you have planned to leave them in your Will.



Is that all it takes?

In a nutshell yes, but in reality no. Of course, produce a binding document is the most important thing but consideration must also be given to whether your executors can follow your wishes. This is where the wording used can become extremely important.


One example of this is could be the car that you wish to leave your Son. So, in your Will, you might decide to write it in a way that says "I give my Mercedes Benz A Class to my Son". This is perfectly fine if it is the car you own when you pass away, however, if the vehicle has changed then the gift will fail, even if you intended your son to receive any car that replaces the one described. So, to avoid any ambiguity, you should ensure that your Will is more precise and so, you would say something like "I give any car owned by me at the date of my death to my son" - this will ensure that the car you own when you pass away is passed on to your Son, even if you change it after writing your Will.



Preventing your Will from being contested or failing

The easiest way to ensure that your Will achieves everything you want is to have it checked by an expert. Using the services of an expert will ensure that it is read and checked thoroughly, word for word. This will reduce the risk of any ambiguities and it will ensure that nothing is left open to interpretation. If anything is open to interpretation then it can be contested, therefore, if anything needs changing, improved or clarified then you will be informed.


Writing a Will is one of the best things you can do to help your loved ones carry out your wishes but make sure you give it some thought and take advice to ensure that the document produced can be followed.



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