DIY Wills and Probate: When things go wrong

We discussed in a recent article whether DIY Wills and Probate are a money saving resource or a false economy. In this article, we summarised that DIY kits are only suitable for those with a small and simple estate, however, even in these instances, there are still factors to consider and rules to follow. 

Whilst DIY Wills have their place and represent a short term saving, you need to bear in mind that any mistakes could end up costing your loved ones thousands of pounds after you are gone. 

The analogy that I would draw is this: Yes, you can buy a boiler from B&Q and fit it yourself. But is the saving really worth it if you end up with a gas leak because you didn’t really know what you were doing? 

The safest option is always to instruct a solicitor to prepare your Will for you. They can ensure that your wishes are clear, cannot be misinterpreted and that provisions have been put in place to make sure that everyone you want to inherit your estate does, without any disputes. 

Sadly, we have seen instances where a person has put a Will in place using a DIY kit however, after they have passed away, it has come to light that the Will does not cover the estate in its entirety. In these instances the portion of the estate not covered by the Will is distributed according to the Intestacy Rules. These rules are arbitrarily applied and do not take personal wishes into account at all. This means that parts of the estate may be inherited by beneficiaries the person who made the Will did not want it to go to.  

Another common error that arises when people try to draft Wills themselves is that when they are signed, the signature is not witnessed by two independent witnesses. This results in the Will not being legally valid. This means that after you pass away the document will be treated as though it was never written, and again the estate will pass according to the Intestacy Rules.

Whilst a Will can be challenged whether it complies with all legal requirements or not, having your Will professionally drawn up by a solicitor deters potential challenges at the very least, and makes it far less likely that any challenge would be successful.

Our advice is not to take the chance. Don’t try to protect your hard earned money and possessions with a handwritten document purchased over the counter. Speak to one of our team today. You may find that having a Will prepared for you is not as expensive or complicated as you think!

If you would like to discuss making a Will, please contact a member of the Price Slater Gawne team on 0161 615 5554, by email to info@psg-law.co.uk or by visiting our Altrincham office.