More ‘Do-It-Yourself’ Wills are ending up in Court

The High Court is reporting a significant increase in the number of Wills ending up in disputes at Court, because the deceased attempted to write their own Will.

This is partially due to the number of people who have attempted to write their own Will during the pandemic, and especially during lockdown, but also due to the number of people who have used online Will writing services.

Although it’s well known that two out of three people do not have a Will, the fact that there are more and more disputes between family members is concerning. Reasons why do-it-yourself or online Wills are failing could be because:

  • The Will was not signed correctly according to the very stringent legal requirements
  • The distribution of the estate was ambiguous – it’s not exactly clear who inherits what
  • The deceased did not have the correct advice as to how the Will should be written
  • And most importantly, the deceased did not have the important expertise to understand some of the issues which a professional would have been aware of.

It might be expected for us to say that everyone should have a professionally drafted Will(!) But having seen thousands of clients over the years, advising on very difficult issues such as their wishes on who should and shouldn’t inherit, concerns about what happens to young children and their inheritance, or real concerns over care fees, seeking professional advice is crucial.

Mistakes in D-I-Y Will drafting can result in complex and costly legal battles, from those who were intentionally left out, or who missed out on an inheritance because there was an error in the Will. Not to mention the emotional turmoil for those left behind having to sort out the mess.

Asking a professional to draft your Will is undoubtedly going to cost, and it’s tempting to go the cheaper online, or the no-cost D-I-Y route. It also might be tempting to go for the cheapest Will (there’s a reason it’s cheap – you won’t get the right advice or service).

But that cost is worth it when your professionally written Will does end up doing what you wanted it to do. And that’ll give you peace of mind and save a lot of heartache for those left behind.

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