Wills. When DIY is NOT a good idea…

As an inheritance solicitor practising in the area of inheritance disputes, I can very much resonate with the stats below. It is staggering to see a 37% rise in the use of caveats, an attempt to block probate being granted, usually where there is a dispute as to the validity of a will.

I have recently seen a number of WH Smith type wills prepared in lockdown, witnessed by family members of the deceased, and with some quite bizarre terms. Sadly, the cost of investigating the legitimacy of these wills far exceeds what it would have cost the deceased to instruct a solicitor to prepare a professionally drafted will. So those left behind have to decide whether to pay a solicitor out of their own pocket to investigate, or perhaps accept nothing.

There are so many benefits to having a solicitor prepare your will. They will assess your mental capacity ( not medically, but according to case law), and if a medical report is needed, this can be obtained. This will make it more difficult for an aggrieved person to challenge the will on the basis you did not have capacity to make it at the time. Who will be able to say that you did have capacity if you download a DIY Will?

They will ensure it is properly executed. Did you know that both witnesses should watch you sign it? If the witnesses are friends or family of beneficiaries (typically the case with homemade wills), then how will their evidence come across if the beneficiaries are later forced to show you had capacity?

Want to cut someone out? A solicitor will advise you on how you can protect yourself against claims from dependants/family members who may make a claim to your estate.

This is all money well spent, and the best way to protect your family from having to pay thousands after your death to defend your wishes.

Attempts to block probate rise 37 per cent in two years.

Increase in DIY wills during the pandemic leads to more family disputes Almost 10,000 challenges were made to the distribution of inherited estates in England and Wales in 2021 .
Attempts to block probate rose to a record level in England and Wales last year, following a surge in the value of bequeathed property and the use of less reliable do-it-yourself wills during the pandemic. Challenges to the distribution of inherited estates jumped to 9,926 in England and Wales’s courts and tribunals service centres in 2021, up 37 per cent compared with 2019, according to figures revealed in a response to a freedom of information request made by law firm Nockolds. 'People are becoming more litigious when it comes to wills.