Risk of DIY Wills

DIY will making books, kits and businesses are everywhere and legal claims for disputed probate are a current boom area for solicitors. It might sound like a simple solution, but ask yourself, how confident are you in the effectiveness and thoroughness of a homemade will? The average citizen of the United Kingdom will leave behind a considerable estate, given that the average value of a home in the UK is several hundred thousand pounds. When we pass away, a will is all we have left to speak to our intentions. You are an individual with unique circumstances. No mass-produced packet of fill-in-the-blank documents could possibly take every facet of your life and estate into account. You owe it to yourself and your loved ones to avoid a legal claim for disputed probate by employing an experienced solicitor who understands the intricacies of the law surrounding wills and probate.

DIY Will Errors

Making a DIY will is a big risk. It’s possible that it will be fine but on the other hand, it’s quite likely that a mistake will be made that invalidates the entire will. Those with no experience in will writing won’t be aware of the many technicalities that can defeat their wishes. Just consider how many disputed probate solicitors make a healthy living from litigating poorly drafted wills. Before you purchase a DIY kit or service, consider the numerous pitfalls waiting to ensnare the unwary:

~ The law dictates specific requirements for signing and executing a will. A signature sounds quite straightforward but it is actually the area of will making most rife with mistakes and often provides grounds for a disputed probate solicitor to take legal action in a court of law. A mistake in execution can invalidate the entire will. There’s no grey area. It’s either done correctly or it isn’t.

~ Another common mistake made in DIY wills is failing to distribute all of the assets of your estate. Any asset that has not been specifically bequeathed to a beneficiary can potentially be claimed by the Crown. Then the State, rather than your loved ones, winds up with your property.

~ DIY wills tend to be bare bones documents. Yet, in order to cover every contingency, a will must often go into some fairly complex details. For instance, it is possible that one of the testator’s beneficiaries will actually die before the testator. Your will should address that possibility to ensure that your assets are distributed according to your wishes if such a situation arises. Remember, as explained above, assets not distributed in your will may be claimed by the State.

~ A will must anticipate the contingencies of life changes. Your testamentary intentions could change greatly after the occurrence of a birth, death, marriage or divorce. In fact, a will drafted prior to a divorce becomes invalid once the divorce is finalised. You need advice from a qualified, experienced solicitor in order to account for future events that could derail the intentions set forth in your will. A DIY will is unlikely to provide for these scenarios but may, in the alternative, provide grounds for disputed probate litigation.

~ If someone involved in the preparation of the will, such as a witness, is also a beneficiary, they could lose their inheritance. Under the law, a certain degree of involvement on the part of a beneficiary could be considered undue influence. A solicitor can help ensure that potential beneficiaries are not involved in the will making process and therefore will not lose their inheritance.

~ Dependants of the testator have the right to continued support after the death of the testator. Should a will not make adequate provisions for a dependant, that dependant can take legal action. The rights of dependants should be accounted for in the will in order to avoid contentious probate.