Top Ten Tips for the Perfect Will

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1. Choose who draws up your will wisely

You can make your own will using a DIY kit available from the local stationers but the process is full of pitfalls and errors are easy to make. Lawyers make a lot more money sorting out badly drafted wills and dealing with claims against those wills, than they make for drawing up wills. DIY is OK for home improvements, but, unless you're extremely confident and knowledgeable, it's not for wills.

You have a choice between solicitors or will writing professionals. GSA Wills is a member of the European Association of Will Writers and ongoing training is undertaken by legal consultants.

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Living Wills by Joan Bakewell

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Presenter and author Joan Bakewell wrote a newspaper article recently, in which she talks about living wills and the need for us to make important decisions about our death and what happens after it, whilst we’re still able.

She states the importance of giving clear, concise instructions as to what you want to happen in the event of your death, in the form of a will. Not doing so, she says, is “seriously neglectful” and could lead to “rancorous squabbles that risk descending through the generations”.

She points out that a will helps you to control what happens to your inheritance and avoid litigation between those you leave behind.

“Living wills” are now known as Advance Directives and indicate such details as what should happen to you, if you become unable to make decisions for yourself through illness or accident.

Joan has prepared hers and filed copies with her doctor, solicitor and family, after discussing the issue with her loved ones. She holds the strong view that a law should be passed, giving greater control to individuals regarding the details of their death and chaired a debate with Lord Falconer in an attempt to open up the discussion.

Common Mistakes made when making a will:

making-willA Will isn't an incredibly complicated document as long as certain rules are followed. It is however very important to get right because the consequences from a mistake can be profound. I list below some of the most common errors.

  • not being aware of the formal requirements needed to make a will legally valid.
  • failing to take account of all the money and property available
  • failing to take account of the possibility that a beneficiary may die before the person making the will
  • changing the will. If these alterations are not signed and witnessed, they are invalid
  • being unaware of the effect of marriage, a registered civil partnership, divorce or dissolution of a civil partnership on a will
  • being unaware of the rules which exist to enable dependants to claim from the estate if they believe they are not adequately provided for. These rules mean that the provisions in the will could be overturned.

Read more: Common Mistakes made when making a will:

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