With access to so much information online, many people now consider making their own ‘DIY will’, either as a result of feeling they have access to the information required to do so from home without having to visit a solicitor or to save money.
The recent case of a daughter who was to inherit the entire estate of her late father, until her three siblings produced a second ‘DIY will’ scribbled on notepaper, highlights issues around the validity of ‘DIY wills’.
In this case, the judge ruled that there was ‘no evidence’ the late father had signed, dictated or demanded a new will before he died three years ago and also no information regarding who was present when that occurred and what the father’s state of mind was at the time. The judge discounted the new ‘DIY will’ and ruled in favour of the original 2018 will, allowing the daughter to inherit the entire estate.
The other siblings in the case maintain that they had cared for their father and tended his daily needs during his last months and that their dad had been determined to change his will before he died. However, without proof of this, the judge must rule in favour of the evidence presented and follow rules to ensure a will is valid. Cases like this can fracture a family and cause a lot of heartache.
Understandably, some people may view the cost of making a will with a solicitor as an unnecessary expense when other financial matters are more pressing or that there is no direct or immediate benefit to doing so. However, using a solicitor could save a lot of expense and heartache further down the line. Our standard charge for a single straightforward will is £250+VAT. If wills are required for a married couple or civil partners then our standard charge is £400+VAT (i.e. where wills are almost identical).
By using a regulated solicitor to help draft your will, you have the benefit of their expertise, knowledge and forethought to help minimise the possibility of disputes arising in the future. Solicitors can ensure your will is valid, ensure language used within the will results in your estate being distributed according to your wishes and will be accepted by a court should the need arise. Solicitors can also register your will to make sure it can be easily found as a reliable will.
Read more about how to avoid common mistakes when making a DIY will.