We’ve devoted a lot of space on this blog to explaining why not everyone needs a lawyer to write a Will, and it’s true; you are perfectly entitled by law to prepare your own Will, and there is no legal requirement to use a lawyer to make a legal Will. However, in the interests of balance, it is only fair to explain why it may, in some circumstances, be a good idea to seek legal advice when preparing your Last Will and Testament.
Lawyers will often say “never prepare your own Will, you will screw it up”. We don’t believe that. We believe that in many circumstances, there may be no requirement to pay for legal advice that you don’t need. Especially with the technology available at our disposal today and with interactive software like the services at LegalWills. It is certainly within many people’s capabilities to prepare their own Will, in the same way that not everybody needs a professional accountant to file their own taxes.
There are definitely circumstances that benefit from professional legal advice and very often we tell prospective clients to not use our service. We even list on our website the types of situations where we would advise people to not even consider preparing their own Will. Here’s just a few;
- If you are involved in a matrimonial dispute, or wish to disinherit your spouse or children.
- If you have a history of mental illness, or the question of your mental capacity may be raised in objection to the statements in the Will.
- If you own personal property or real estate in multiple countries.
- If you are under the age of adulthood.
- If you have complicated business investments (e.g. you are part owner of property or businesses where ownership may be challenged).
- If you are about to be married and are preparing a Will in contemplation of that marriage.
- If you have a large, complex estate and feel that you would benefit from some advice on estate planning and tax reduction.
- If you own a farm, as there may be significant estate planning implications.
- If you need to provide for long-term medical care for a dependent.
- If you have any litigation pending which involve large sums of money or where a prison term is possible.
- If you think that somebody may challenge your Will in court or you have any other doubts about your situation.
If any of these situations applies to you, then don’t even think about trying to prepare your own Will; you need legal advice and you need a lawyer.
If not, then you could consider preparing your own Will.