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The Dangers of DIY Wills

DIY Wills are getting more and more popular due to the perceived cost of getting one drawn up professionally. But is it worth the risk in the long run?

A DIY Will kit can be found in many high street shops in the UK and can cost around £10 to £20. It can seem like a cheap alternative to hiring a solicitor to write your will but if you don’t know what you are doing you could end up leaving your loved ones with a big old mess to clear up after you’re gone.

If any errors are made when writing a Will, or if the will is not witnessed correctly, the document could be invalid.

The implications could be very serious. Not only do you risk leaving your family with a financial and emotional mess, but your legacy could be reduced by legal costs or unnecessary tax.

Someone who knows the pain of dealing with a DIY Will is 72 year old Eileen McCormack who has been dealing with her cousin’s estate for more than two years. Her cousin wrote it himself and over many years made hand written amendments in different coloured inks, as well as many changes to the figures and beneficiaries. Unfortunately this has led to around 16% of his estate being used to pay for avoidable legal fees whilst Eileen tries to sort it out.

Other issues can arise from DIY Wills. For instance in some cases there may be mistrust in the family and they may not believe that the Will was actually written by the deceased, or was written under duress. More DIY wills are contested each year than those that are professionally written.

The benefits of using a solicitor to write your Will far outweigh the costs. These include that you’re protected if something goes wrong, you can be more confident that no mistakes have been made, the complicated bits are done for you and that it will be stored safely.

You can also make your solicitor the executor of your estate. This means that all of the arrangements after your death do not fall on a member of your family and your estate will be administered by a professional.

A solicitor can provide invaluable advice when it comes to writing a Will. They can look at the assets that you have pragmatically, help you divide your estate, they can provide tax advice and can help prevent problems in the future. If they are also the executor they can remain impartial and not take sides if there are any disputes.

If you are considering writing a Will, and we do recommend that everyone does have one, contact our expert team of Wills and Probate Lawyers at Slater and Gordon UK. You can call us on freephone 0800 916 9055 or contact us online and we will call you back.

Slater and Gordon Lawyers are one of the UK’s largest law firms with more than 1,450 staff in 18 offices across London, Manchester, Liverpool, Birmingham, Sheffield, Milton Keynes, Bristol, Cambridge, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Halifax, Newcastle, Wakefield, Merseyside, Derby and meeting rooms in Bramhall, Cheshire and in Hull, Yorkshire.


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