30% increase in probate claims: are DIY wills to blame?

11 June 2019

In 2018 the High Court recorded a staggering increase of 30% in the number of issued probate disputes on the previous year. Many industry practitioners believe that the rise in DIY wills is to blame for the sharp increase.

Christina Blacklaws, President of the Law Society has stated that: “With the range of different estates and circumstances that exist, it is vitally important people consult a professional when writing their will. Probate law is complex and DIY wills can easily contain mistakes which render them illegitimate or difficult to administer.”

It is understandable that people do not wish to incur legal fees in drafting a will as they often think that their wishes are quite simple and that their family and friends will simply ‘do the right thing’. However drafting a will is a complex task, and DIY wills can lead to the inclusion of errors and omissions that a legal practitioner would not make.

Hiring a specialist solicitor who can provide tax saving advice and take the necessary steps to safeguard against potential claims against an estate is a simple but significant step which could help to create peace of mind in the short term and save thousands of pounds in legal fees in the long term. With the rise in property values set to continue and second families becoming the norm, a mistake in a will, or an ill-thought out provision, could cause a dispute that will cost loved ones substantial legal fees and often damage family relations beyond repair.

Whilst the growing number of wills being made shows an increasing understanding of the importance of establishing testamentary wishes, it is vital for anyone considering making a will, or who wishes to review the terms of their current will, to obtain independent legal advice.

To contact a professional regarding your will, get in touch with Birketts’ extensive and experienced Private Client team. Alternatively, if you would like to raise a dispute regarding a will, please contact our Contentious Trust and Probate team.