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The Dangers of Homemade Wills

Reasons to choose Wilson Browne

It is no secret that many people are deterred from instructing a lawyer to draft a Will because of the potential cost involved.

However, the costs of rectifying the issues caused by a DIY Will can be significantly higher.

For example, if you are unmarried and cohabiting or have children from a previous relationship, it is particularly important that you consider obtaining legal advice to ensure that your wishes are met and your loved ones are protected. Furthermore, business owners or those with foreign assets should consult a lawyer as a DIY Will could result in unforeseen tax bills which careful Will drafting could have prevented.

These errors could result in part of the Will becoming invalid or (more worryingly) the entire Will could be invalid. If you die without a valid Will you are then deemed to have died ‘intestate’. The intestacy rules in Part IV Administration of Estates Act 1925 will then determine how your property is disposed of. This could be very distressing for family members who may know that you wouldn’t have wanted certain people in the family to inherit. If there are no eligible beneficiaries, your estate could pass to the Crown.

Common mistakes in DIY Wills can include that the Testator has not signed correctly as per the legal formalities of s9 Wills Act 1837. Furthermore, there may be unattested alterations made to the Will, writing in different coloured ink or writing implements and attempts at destruction. These errors as highlighted above could prove difficult and costly for the Executors when trying to obtain a Grant of Probate in order to administer the estate.

In addition to this, a lack of legal advice could also leave a Will vulnerable to being contested by disgruntled family members. Relatives, who have been excluded, may bring a claim to the Courts on the grounds of a lack of capacity of the Testator or undue influence. A good lawyer will advise on this in order to assist in the event of any claim.

So if you have a DIY Will or are considering drafting one please reconsider and instead book an appointment with one of our experts in the Private Client Team today.

Beth Kay

Posted:

Beth Kay

ACILEx

Beth is a member of our Private Client Team, and an associate member of ILEX (ACILEx). Since joining the firm in 2015, Beth has considerable experience of dealing with all manner of enquiries relating to a diverse range of legal needs including Wills, probate, trusts,…