Why should I go to a Solicitor for my Will?

In recent months, our Wills and Probate team have dealt with a number of 'homemade' Wills when applying for a Grant of Probate.

Unfortunately, mistakes made in the creation, signing or witnessing of a 'homemade' Will are not usually discovered until the person has passed away. Wills are usually kept amongst the deceased’s personal papers and may not be viewed by anybody else until after death. This means that any issues with a Will are not often discovered until the executor(s) apply to obtain the Grant of Probate.

Although a 'homemade' Will may appear valid on the face of it, unless the legal requirements of Section 9 of the Wills Act 1837 have been complied with, the Will is likely to be rejected by the Probate Registry. The Probate Registry can mark the Will as 'invalid' when the application for the Grant of Probate is made. If this happens, and no earlier Will exists, the deceased will be deemed 'intestate' i.e. that they died without making a Will.

The ‘Intestacy Rules’, (detailed in Part IV, Section 46 of the Administration of Estates Act 1925) will then determine who inherits the estate, and this will depend on which relatives survive the deceased. This may have adverse consequences if relatives inherit the deceased’s estate with whom the deceased no longer had a close relationship. It can also exclude unmarried partners from inheriting without having to make a claim against the estate.

It is, therefore, essential that the person making the Will complies with the requirements of Section 9 of the Wills Act 1837.

Our Wills and Probate team can help you to prepare your Will, answer any questions, and explain the correct signing and witnessing procedures. For more information on our personal, confidential service, call 0113 201 4900 or email wills.probate@emsleys.co.uk.

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