Thinking of amending your will by hand? Think again

Posted on January 8th, 2018

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Your will is an extremely important document and governs what happens to your assets upon your death. Estate planning, and particularly drafting and interpreting wills, is a complex area of law. Although this is so, people commonly think it is straight forward.

You have spent a lifetime accumulating your wealth and the transferring of that wealth to the next generation is not necessarily a simple task. Even in situations where there is a simple family structure and relatively straight forward assets, we often see problems created by self-drafted or self-amended wills.

Obtaining legal advice regarding how best to transfer your assets upon your death and having your will professionally drafted is of great importance. For those who have gone to the effort and expense of doing so in the past, it can be tempting to make small changes to the will by hand afterward. There are however numerous rules which govern whether a will is validly amended and it is often the case that these rules are not followed when people amend their wills themselves.  

Amending your will yourself can very easily make it difficult for your executor to administer your estate. The amendments you make may not be effective or may have an unintended effect on your will as a whole or other provisions within your will. It may also increase the chances of a dispute arising about the terms of your will or increase the likelihood of a family provision claim being made; both of these types of disputes are expensive.

People are often looking to save on the cost of obtaining advice from a lawyer when amending wills themselves. In reality they are often creating the need for additional work to be done after their death. Generally, the work involved in rectifying problems created by hand amending a will far exceeds the work involved in drafting an amended will and therefore costs significantly more in the long run.

Lana Black, Solicitor at Mullane & Lindsay Solicitors, NewcastleLana Black is a Solicitor at Mullane & Lindsay Solicitors and practices extensively in estate planning and administration. If you require any assistance in this area please contact Lana Black to arrange a consultation or contact our Newcastle office.

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