“So, have you sorted out your Will yet?”
Now that is a difficult question to respond to. Wills are a very personal affair and sometimes it can feel very difficult to speak to someone and lay your life out on paper. It can be difficult as well to validate the cost. There’s always something more important to spend the money on and it’s not like you’re going to need a Will right away…right?
In response to these feelings people have increasingly turned to a cheaper, more private solution – DIY Wills. These are homemade Wills, sometimes bought in a packet for £10-£30, that purport to replace any need for a solicitor drawn Will. However, when someone I know says they’ve got a DIY Will, I am immediately filled with concern. Let me tell you why.
There is a side to Wills that isn’t immediately appreciated at the outset – if someone isn’t left what they felt entitled to, they may feel driven to dispute the Will formally. High Court disputes just like this have increased by more than a third in five years!
Now picture the same scenario, but now a solicitor has prepared your Will. With the process properly carried out and backed by the experience and training of an established firm, people are far more likely to avoid contesting the Will or, even if they do so, the Will is much more easily defended.
In the last year almost 4 out of 10 people executed Wills without consulting a professional, driving up the risk of being sued by a family member. It is difficult right now to appreciate how people may react to your Will, doubly so if it’s a DIY Will where the conditions cannot be relied upon.
Take, for example, Perrins v Holland. By the time this contentious probate was settled the parties had incurred legal fees of £183,000. The total value of the estate was only £160,000! The chance of a contentious probate matter is not a risk you wish to run.
If you have such a Will, or are considering one, I strongly urge you – see a solicitor instead. The potential cost and stress later on will outweigh any minor financial benefit you might draw from a discount DIY Will.
Get in touch and ask for our help – it’s what we’re here for.
If you need help or advice with a Will or any other matter, please contact our highly skilled and experienced Wills & Probate team on 01865 244661.