According to recently published stats, the number of inheritance disputes heard in High Court has increased from 227 in 2018 to 368 in 2019. This rise is thought to be led by the ongoing popularity of DIY wills.

Although DIY wills may seem like a good idea, they are often littered with errors and mistakes. This in turn causes expensive disputes and complications further down the line. Obviously once the person dies it is too late to put things right.

Many go ahead with DIY wills, not seeking professional legal advice regarding significant factors such as modern or complex family structures, and the distribution of assets and property.

The rise is such wills and probate will inevitably mean there will be a rise in costly disputes held in High Court.

Dominic Mackenzie, Head of Private Client at Ison Harrison Solicitors, comments:

“People often think that they are saving money by doing their own will. However what often happens is that unforeseen problems arise, their family falls out, there is a costly dispute and the only winners are the lawyers. To do a professional will should cost no more than a couple of hundred pounds and you are covered by a solicitor’s insurance policy if things go wrong”

The risks of DIY wills

If you have intricacies or complexities in your finance, for instance; foreign investments or bank accounts, if you own a business or property abroad, or you have people who are financially dependent, you should not make a DIY will.

If you are considering drafting your first will, it is vital that you partake in professional legal advice. If your will falls short, it is likely that there will be disputes after you are gone.

If you use a company that supplies will templates, the company will not take any responsibility for the will being correctly made.

If the will is found to be invalid, the law will decide upon your finances and assets, and whom it goes to after you are gone.

The importance of proper wills

Probate disputes can be avoided if a will has been properly drafted. A well-made and well planned will should prevent someone challenging it successfully.

Getting the right advice in conjunction with making wills can save thousands in inheritance tax. As inheritance tax allowances are transferable between spouses, this would benefit your children enormously.

If used properly, trusts can be excellent ways to protect assets and children.

If you have a disabled beneficiary, a properly drafted will can ensure they are adequately housed for the rest of their lives, that they do not lose benefits and care packages

If you made wills when in a relationship, whether married or unmarried, and that relationship has ended without a divorce, then your ex will inherit.

More and more people cohabit. If you die without a will, then your long term partner will not inherit from you under the intestacy provisions. What you have worked for should go to the right people not the wrong hands.

The Ison Harrison will charges

We charge fixed fees for most wills. We hope that you will be pleasantly surprised by those charges. For a standard single will our fee is £125 plus Vt. For standard mirror wills (for married couples and cohabitees) the charge is £175 plus Vat.

If you require any more information regarding Wills and Probate, contact our Head of Wills and Probate Dominic Mackenzie on 0113 284 5086 or alternatively email dominic.mackenzie@isonharrison.co.uk.