While lawyers will discourage you from creating a do it yourself will and testament (when you do it yourself they don’t get paid!), it is possible to do so if you wish to. However, it is wise to keep in mind that the larger the estate or size of the family, the more complex the distribution of assets becomes, especially in regard to things like setting up trusts for minors etc. If yours is a large estate or the provisions of your will are going to be complicated, it may be wiser to refrain from going in for a do it yourself will and testament and consult a will lawyer instead. If you do decide to go ahead with the do it yourself will and testament, there are some precautions that you need to take.
Do It Yourself Will And Testament Tips
Make your will at a young age – as soon as you have a family, dependants or assets of your own. Since it is a do it yourself will and testament, it won’t cost you anything. More importantly, the chances of anyone contesting a will made when you are in your 30s or 40s is less than when you are in your 80s and loss of mental faculties can be a grounds for contesting the will, especially if it is a do it yourself will and testament that may not be in completely watertight legal language.
Before setting out to write your do it yourself will and testament, do an audit of all your assets to make sure that nothing is left out. And just in case put in a “residuary clause” which will cover the disposal of any assets that may not be covered specifically in the will.
A danger with do it yourself wills and testaments is that after you have done it once, it is tempting to keep going back and making changes or refinements. While this is legal and the modifications, large or small (called codicils) can be added to the original document, they only complicate the issue. Make changes to your do it yourself will and testament only when the nature of your estate or your relationship with the beneficiaries changes. And if you find, after a time that a large number of codicils have been added, it is better to scrap the will and create a new one. Make sure to clearly state that the new will and testament revokes all previous ones.
The executor is the person whom you nominate in your do it yourself will and testament to carry out your instructions in regard to the disposal of your assets. Make sure that the person you choose is competent, and willing to take on the responsibility. The person must be someone you trust as you will have to give him or her authority to make all payments required for the execution of your instruction and also for paying any outstanding debts etc.
Use simple, clear and direct language in writing your do it yourself will and testament so that the question of any uncertainty about your wishes does not arise. Keep any conditions or limitation placed on the beneficiaries to a minimum. Imposing conditions that are bad in law can result in the do it yourself will and testament being declared as invalid.