People in Scotland risk leaving their loved ones with nothing if they make a cut-price or DIY will rather than seeking proper legal advice.
According to Edinburgh family law firm Gibson Kerr, many Scots are tempted to fill out cut-price wills online rather than paying a solicitor to arrange one, as they see it as an easy way to save money on legal fees.
The firm says that these bargain-hunters are actually leaving their families and loved ones in danger of not receiving their rightful inheritances – as online or DIY wills can be poorly written and, in some cases, are not legally-binding contracts.
Scott Rasmusen, Partner at Gibson Kerr, said that it was vital that people get suitable legal advice regarding the process of making or changing a will in order to safeguard their families and loved ones – rather than being tempted by the “cheap” DIY option.
He said: “Many people are tempted to cut corners when it comes to making a will. They think that they can fill out all of the necessary paperwork themselves and look online for the best deals in order to save money.
“However, you should not fall for the promise of a ‘cheap’ online or DIY will, as these can potentially be very damaging. DIY wills are fraught with danger because they can be poorly written, and this can cause a great deal of confusion over who gets what when the time comes.
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“It is not worth the risk of choosing one of these wills over a proper version drafted by an experienced solicitor. Without the right legal advice, you run the risk of filling the forms out incorrectly or not making your requests clear enough – which could mean your loved ones have to pay extra in legal fees to secure their rightful inheritances or, in some cases, they could even be left with nothing. A badly drafted will can also cause family tensions.
“Making a will through your solicitor means that they will give you impartial advice that is the best for you and your dependents. They can also aid and advise you with any changes you plan to make with your will in the future and that these will help benefit your nearest and dearest.
“By having your will drawn up by a legal expert, you will ensure that the wording is precise and legally correct, and that the will is properly signed and witnessed – which will safeguard the interests of the person making the will and their beneficiaries, as well as saving costly legal bills further down the line.
“If you choose an online or DIY will without seeking the right advice about how to set one up or amend it, you could be leaving your loved ones at risk. You can’t afford to be ignorant about the options available to you if it means compromising the future security of your friends and family when you die.”
Scott adds that the rise in popularity of DIY or online wills is another example of the ongoing “will ignorance” currently affecting the UK. The scenario – where people are either unaware of the importance of making a will or unsure how to get legal advice about how to set one up – has been fuelled by recent research showing that only two thirds of the UK’s adult population have made a will.
Gibson Kerr is a family-run law firm that has been established in Edinburgh for more than 100 years. It has an excellent reputation for providing a comprehensive service encompassing both property and personal law, including powers of attorney, executries and wills.