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DIY or expert advice– which should you choose?

Life is full of choices – but sometimes this can be more overwhelming than helpful. One of these decisions is whether you need to get expert advice to get the right results for you, or whether you should give something a go yourself.

Recent research from personal loans provider Zopa has shown the majority (73%) of people doing home improvements turn to the pros, with almost half (45%) using skilled professionals for the entire job. Only 13% undertook all the renovations themselves.

Home improvements aren’t the only area you may find yourself with that choice. Luckily, we can offer you the free advice you need.  See if we can help you reach the right decision for you.

DIY vs. bringing in the experts – three scenarios

1.Divorce or dissolution

Divorce can be a very difficult time emotionally and the last thing you want to do on top of everything else is worry about how you’re going to go about it.

There are different ways you can approach your divorce and you may feel you don’t need a solicitor all the way through.

If your divorce or dissolution is amicable and your finances are straightforward, you should be able to sort everything out relatively quickly and cheaply. 

As a guide, you may be able to sort out your divorce yourself if: your ex-partner agrees to a divorce or dissolution or you have been separated for five years or more; you have been married or in a civil partnership for a relatively short time; you do not have children; you have both lived in the same part of the UK for at least a year and you are comfortably able to discuss or negotiate how you will divide what you own and what you owe.

It may not be a good idea if you and your ex-partner have any children under 18, a valuable home and/or pension(s) or complicated finances.

The guidelines are slightly different in Scotland. You can find out about this and more in our DIY divorce guide.

There are plenty of other options if it doesn’t feel right. Solicitors, actuaries and mediators can all help you reach a decision that feels right to you.


2. Wills

Templates for DIY wills are cheap and easy to find – you can get them online or from stationery shops. But it’s not always a good idea to write your will yourself.

If your will is very simple, it could be the right decision for you. So, for example, if you’re married and you want to leave everything to your husband or wife, and if they die before you, you want to leave everything to your children.

Anything more tricky, such as owning your own business that you wish to pass on, or you have financial dependents other than your immediate family, means you really shouldn’t be thinking about doing it yourself.

It may be an idea to ask your bank as well – a lot do will writing services, although you should always check you can choose your own executor as some banks charge a lot for this. 


3. Car repairs

Cars can sometimes feel more trouble than they’re worth. But learning some simple car maintenance can help you keep those garage costs for when you really need them.

If you can learn to check your car’s oil level using the dipstick under the bonnet and top it up if necessary, this can be very helpful. Use the correct grade for your car and be careful not to overfill the engine. To find out how to check engine oil levels, watch this video on the RAC website.

Changing the air filter and checking and topping up your tyre pressure levels are two more jobs that can save you asking someone at a garage to do it for you.


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