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Many people are tempted to write their own wills to avoid the expense of a solicitor, however, a poorly-written will can quickly lead to mounting costs – as well as a legal minefield.
These off-the-shelf, or “DIY” will toolkits can cost as little as £9.99, but they come with many dangers. Not only can you risk leaving your family emotionally and financially worse off, you might just find the tax man ends up taking most of your estate through additional tax bills that have not been accounted for. A considerable percentage of a deceased’s estate can be absorbed in additional fees as a result of an ineffective will.
There is also the family heartbreak and upset any fallout can cause. According to an article in the Times over the weekend, High Court inheritance disputes between family members have jumped 62% in two years. The reason is thought to be due to the number of people who are increasingly turning to these DIY toolkits, which more often than not contain errors and omissions of important information. Recent figures from the Co-Operative Legal Services, suggested that DIY wills are to blame for a prolonged probate ordeal for 38,000 families a year.
When wills go wrong, many people find themselves in a financial no-man’s-land. They find they’ve lost their only source of income, property is left in limbo, and the financial and emotional cost of dealing with the fallout can be huge.
The number of cases ending up in the High Courts is unnecessarily high, but more importantly, the breakdown of family relationships as a result of a poorly-written will, as well as financial instability, can be avoided.
Whilst many clients of ours are often intimidated by legal jargon, or expensive solicitor’s fees; at Downs Solicitors, we pride ourselves on speaking in plain English and give clear information as to the likely costs from the outset, agreeing a fixed fee wherever possible. We always try to work with our clients and their families so that we can do our best to deal with matters as required in their circumstances.. We aim to provide a person centred service, getting to know our clients , so that you are comfortable with us – and we can make sure your wishes are clear and put into effect.
If you would like more information, please get in touch with our Private Client team.