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DIY Wills "could cause family disputes" warns legal expert

When making a Will, many people choose to use a DIY kit or online template for a variety of reasons. Research shows that 37% of us thought it would be cheaper than going through a solicitor, whilst others thought it would be quicker to do it ourselves or didn’t want a stranger knowing their business.

However, this approach means that millions of Britons could potentially be leaving their loved ones to deal with disputes over the distribution of their assets after they die. Research shows that nearly a quarter (24%) of people with a Will have written it themselves, while 7% said that they have experienced problems having used a DIY Will. Of this number, nearly half (46%) said it led to a dispute and 39% stated that probate took longer as a result.

19% of people surveyed stated that they used a template Will that was purchased either via websites or in a shop, whilst 5% wrote their Will themselves using no template or guidance whatsoever. The danger of this approach is that they could have potentially missed out important elements that need to be addressed and included. Interestingly, over 50s are more likely to seek professional guidance to help draft their Will and additional legal documents, with only one in seven having a DIY Will compared to 43% of people under 50.

Although a DIY Will is just as valid as one drawn up by a professional, people are advised to be extra vigilant when checking for any errors and mistakes. Common mistakes include the Will being incorrectly signed or witnessed which could mean that the document becomes invalid.

Andrea Pierce, Director of Legal Services at Kings Court Trust, commented: “It is crucial that a Will is correctly and accurately drawn up. Even the smallest of mistakes can have significant consequences on the distribution of the assets, which can cause additional stress for the family involved at an already difficult time. We always recommend using a professional Will writer as this gives the client peace of mind that their documents are an accurate legal representation of their wishes.”

Do you know of any similar scenarios where someone has drafted a DIY Will and fallen foul of complications?