Are Online Wills Leading to Inheritance Disputes?

Are Online Wills Leading to Inheritance Disputes?

The number of inheritance disputes heard in the High Court is soaring. As more and more people are turning to the internet to write their wills, is this a coincidence? Probate matters are getting increasingly contentious and this does not account for the disputes that are settled before reaching Court. It might be true that we are living in a more litigious society, but it is safe to say that other factors have contributed to the marked rise.

So, what other issues could account for the spike in cases?

Higher estate values have certainly made challenging a person’s estate more worthwhile and divided relationships within complex family structures. The result of this often creates a web of competing claims. Not to mention that ever-increasing life expectancy is allowing for wills to be made and amended time and time again, opening up the potential for disputes over inheritance and will validity.

The Problem with ‘DIY / Homemade’ Wills

In days gone by, it was normal for someone wanting to make a will to ask their solicitor to do the drafting. But now there is a huge variety of choice when it comes to will writing services. At a first glance, the accessibility of these services might seem attractive but, for various reasons, such wills are prone to being contested. They are often drafted with insufficient legal clarity; this can lead to disputes over who has the right to inherit.

A  solicitor’s  job is to keep a record of the discussion with his client and to be able to provide evidence that the appropriate checks have been carried out  when taking instructions for a will.  Making a will without the safeguard of this professional support  may prompt a lot of questions concerning the testator’s ability to know and understand the contents of  his or her own will.

Underestimating the complexities of probate, wills and administration can also lead to mistakes, which may result in the estate being difficult to administer or an intended beneficiary being excluded.

The moral of the story being… just because you can make a will without professional legal assistance does not mean that you should!

The Benefits of Using a Solicitor

A solicitor specialising in wills and probate is well versed in the language of will-making. They are trained to understand the meaning of given words within a legal context and the way in which these words are received in Court or by the tax authorities. Consequently, they are in the best position to advise the testator on how to write the will in order to achieve their wishes and to minimise the possibility of an invalidity or a claim on their estate.

Once a will has been made, most solicitors will provide the client with a copy but keep the original for the client in safe storage so as to avoid accidental loss or damage.

Ultimately, a will is for the benefit of those we love and leave behind. The extra cost of hiring a solicitor is very much lower than the cost of defending litigation after death.

Let us help you preserve the things you have worked so hard to build. In light of the current situation, we can receive instructions for your will via video conferencing and offer you a 10% discount from our fixed fees.