The rise in DIY wills driving more probate disputes
Author: Emma Wood
Disputes over inheritance have risen by 59%. In 2018, 227 cases were heard by the High Court in comparison to 368 in 2019.
The rise is being attributed to the increase in DIY wills which often contain errors. “DIY wills only take in to account straightforward circumstances and anything that falls outside that can cause problems”, says Emma Wood, partner in Russell & Russell’s wills and probate department. “Relying on a DIY will, which unfortunately more and more people are doing, could leave your loved ones in a legal minefield if your estate is a little more complicated.”
Changes in the modern family structure and more family members choosing to deal with distributing assets, rather than rely on professional advice, have also been held responsible for the increase in court cases.
Probate law is complex and if people who aren’t’ familiar with the legal process take it upon themselves to administer their own estate, mistakes can easily happen. Unfortunately, once a will is registered it’s legally binding, so all too often it can end up with family members settling the situation through costly legal battles in court.
“DIY wills may look appealing because they’re cheap and convenient”, continues Emma. “But the reality is that while you may save a few pounds on doing it yourself, you won’t get the full benefit a solicitor can offer. Changing family environments and the rise in property values have meant that it’s more important than ever to get it right.”