According to a recent report, the number of inheritance disputes has rocketed by 62% in the last year.
The rise is being attributed to the increasing popularity of DIY wills – a trend that is clearly at the root of much unnecessary heartache.
A probate dispute causes further stress and upset to family members at an already distressing time. The grieving process can be interrupted or further compounded.
It may feel like a savvy, money-saving move to write your own will. After all, it’s simply a case of getting your wishes on to paper isn’t it? Well, not quite.
Errors and omissions are often made by people who write their own will. This is simply because they do not fully understand the legal requirements and their implications – it is easy to make an expensive mistake without realising. Furthermore, in the modern world, family structures are becoming more complex, whilst increasing property prices are raising the stakes for those involved. Particular difficulties arise from conflicts of interest, when the person administering the estate is also a beneficiary.
Probate law is not a simple field; it is wound up in nuance and complexity that can make it a very difficult path for non-professionals to navigate. Therefore, writing your own will can be a dangerous move – even for those who have more straightforward family or financial circumstances. It simply makes sense to ensure your will is written by a professional, because the cost is well worth the security and peace of mind of knowing that a family disagreement is less likely to arise.
President of the Law Society, Christina Blacklaws agrees: ‘it is vitally important people consult a professional when writing their will. Probate law is complex and DIY wills can easily contain mistakes which render them illegitimate or difficult to administer.’
In the modern world where information is so widely available, people are becoming increasingly reliant on ‘Mr Google’ for information. Whilst the internet is – of course – an incredibly useful resource for many areas, it should rarely be used to make important decisions. For example, nowadays many people search for their health symptoms online rather than seeking advice from a doctor. This can lead to an inaccurate diagnosis; people may cause harm to their own health – or that of their family – as a result. ‘How to’ guides exist online for many topics that should involve a professional. It is possible to download free ‘How to write a will’ guides online.
There is an impression that having a solicitor involved in writing your will is prohibitively expensive. Actually, this isn’t the case. At A M Davies, the cost of our will writing service starts at £180 + VAT.
Furthermore, there is a theory that people are reluctant to involve a third party in such a personal and emotionally-charged issue.
In the private client department of A M Davies, Jeremy Clough brings decades of experience to advising testators and taking instructions for wills . He has an empathetic and sensitive approach to his role, meaning all of his clients can be assured of a fully personalised and completely confidential service.
We work closely with all our clients to ensure their wishes are met, and that all eventualities have been carefully considered; this leaves no room for doubt or ambiguity. Our wills are fully watertight from a legal perspective, giving our clients peace of mind that their wishes will be fulfilled when they die.
And with a full list of our prices available online, we ensure a fully transparent relationship with our clients, meaning that they understand the cost implications before committing to our services.
Given the weighty financial and emotional implications of an invalid or badly drawn will, is a DIY will really worth the risk?