Will Disputes - DIY Wills

DIY Wills have increased in popularity over the last few years. Our specialist will dispute solicitors have, at the same time, noticed a significant increase in cases that involve contesting a will.

Our solicitors say that the increased level of disputes is partly due to a rise in complex family structures such as second marriages, step children and other factors but also due to the amount of people that are opting for a DIY will to save money.

Some may consider that their financial affairs are straightforward and that a solicitor is not required. The problem with this is that a lay person would be unlikely to appreciate the key issues that a solicitor would identify. For example, there may well be taxation and tax planning issues that need to be discussed. In addition, it is important to ensure that the will is properly executed and witnessed.

Whilst DIY wills are certainly the cheaper option, it can be a risky way forward. If errors are made, or if the rules are not followed completely, the will could be declared invalid.

Further, a solicitor preparing a will for a client is required to make a full record of their instructions, to document their assessment regarding testamentary capacity. The solicitor would also normally ensure that any beneficiaries are not in the room when instructions for the will are taken and during the execution of the will. Accordingly, it is normally much more difficult to contest a will that has been prepared by a solicitor.

DIY wills often fail to comply with the required formalities and can result in an outcome which was not what the testator intended. By instructing an experienced solicitor to prepare your will, this provides some peace of mind and the risk of a will dispute will usually be reduced.

The cost savings with a DIY are, in many cases, a false economy and in the event of a will dispute, the family left behind are then left with the headache of a protracted dispute with the risk of the estate bearing some or all of the costs of a dispute.

If you require advise in relation to a will dispute or contentious probate matter please contact our specialist contentious probate solicitors on 01902 424927 for an initial free consultation.

Alternatively, please e-mail us at contentiousprobate@georgegreen.co.uk providing a brief summary of the issues you wish to discuss with us, along with your contact details.