A recent report, carried out by Which?Legal, has found that DIY Wills are damaging to families.
At a time when people making Wills is at a particular low point, the research has found that more people than ever are making DIY Wills.
Astonishingly, 40% of the respondents, that had made a Will, confessed to using a DIY or free Will writing service, lured in by the affordability and personal touch that could be added when it was completed by themselves.
Despite the fact that a personal Will may seem in the best interests of all concerned, High Court disputes concerning Wills has increased by over a third in the past five years with fears that this statistic is only going to rise because of these unprofessional and often naively written Wills.
Our MD, Marc Thomas, commented: “The growing use of DIY Wills and Probate is partly to blame for the increase in challenges which end up costing £15-20,000 and taking 12 or more months to resolve, delaying inheritances. Wills can end in a legal dispute if someone does not think they have been left what they were promised, but may be easier to defend if the process was carried out properly. People understandably want to save money, but this can lead to major problems, as the increase in legal disputes shows. As with anything else you get what you pay for, and a DIY or free Will as a false economy.”
About 60% of people do not have a Will in place but around 80% of people with a Will have the wrong Will for their wishes due to the fact that they have received no advice.
Marc also commented: “Wills should be reviewed every 3-5 years and after major life events. It can be incredibly expensive to have a Will that is not up-to-date. Disputes can have a devastating effect on families. You should always keep your Will updated to avoid the stress, cost and fallout from a dispute.”
Additionally, 38% of respondents that had not made a Will because they believed that their estate had nothing worth inheriting, often omitting the sentimental considerations.
Darren Stott, Which?Legal Managing Director, stated: “Whatever stage of life you are at, a Will offers peace of mind and ensures your money, property and all other possessions go to the right place. Your family could also face additional legal fees, taxes and challenges. Otherwise loved ones might be deprived of their home to joint ownership, as intestacy rules rarely recognise unmarried couples.”
Despite industry protestations, the report suggests that the country will continue to dabble in DIY Wills or turn their back on the idea altogether.
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