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DIY wills create rise in Inheritance disputes

The DIY approach to will writing has risen over the past few years with a growing number of people choosing to draft their own wills. By no coincidence, inheritance disputes are on the rise and have jumped 62% in two years, as the do-it -yourself approach to wills has failed to achieve what was intended.

Will drafting is a specialist area of law, particularly when dealing with unusual and/or complex family structures or estates, perhaps involving children and step-children from second or third marriages, and trusts. The DIY approach to wills simply doesn’t cater for anything other than very straightforward scenarios which is why inheritance disputes are on the rise. With DIY kits available off the shelf for as little as £9.99, it’s little wonder that, without seeking proper legal guidance, wills are often not worth the paper they’re written on.

Excluded family members 

We have seen an increase in challenges to wills from excluded family members who felt they should have been provided for. In some cases, the deceased may have fully intended to provide for a loved one, but this is not properly set out in the will. Another scenario is where the deceased has wrongly assumed that someone will automatically benefit upon death. This particularly applies to cohabiting couples, where the testator, having failed to consult a qualified professional, incorrectly assumes that their partner will automatically benefit from their estate upon death and fails to make specific provision for them by will.

Probate disputes

Disputes over estates can arise for a number of reasons. It may be that the absence of a will creates an unexpected outcome on death, which a close family member or partner of the deceased wants to challenge. For example, the ability of the partner of the deceased to remain in occupation of the home they shared together may be threatened by the effect of a lack of a will.

Alternatively, the deceased may have made a will and consciously excluded a close family member who may be sufficiently aggrieved to seek to bring a claim against the estate.

Cases such as these can place executors in unenviable situations, as they find themselves caught between protecting the wishes expressed by the deceased in their will and an anxious or hostile close family member.

Take professional advice

Talking about what you want to happen following your death isn’t an easy subject for most people, but planning for the future will greatly assist your loved ones. You should bear in mind any potential disputes which may arise from the way your will is drafted, such as a family member being excluded when they believe they are entitled to reasonable financial provision from your estate.

It is really important to seek proper legal advice when writing a will. Failing to do so may result in your executors having to deal with the unwelcome prospect of a claim being made against your estate following your death.

If you or your family are seeking assistance with will writing, or require any other legal advice or services, Richard Hoare, head of our private client department, and his team will help guide you through the entire process. Please get in touch today by calling 01482 325242 or email


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