Unnecessary DIY Will Disputes are keeping High Court too busy

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.

Our Team

More Knowledge
Are you locked out of your Child Trust Fund?

If you set up a trust fund for a child who has learning disabilities, you might want to consider how to access those funds when the child reaches 18.

The digital assets that are worth a will

Last year, we wrote a blog about how digital assets are commonly overlooked when writing a will. But, thanks to a recent survey by the Law Society, now might be the best time to give it some thought.


Are you a “Silver Splitter”?

Last Monday was National Divorce Day - so called because it is the first Monday “back to normal” after Christmas, the bills start landing on the doormat and frayed couples have spent too long in close proximity. However, as the numbers of separations are largely on the decline, it seems there is a rise in the “silver splitter” - and if you’re one of them, you might find you’re in for a financial windfall.

The Bank of Mum and Dad

It's a good time to sell. Demand for properties amongst buyers is currently exceeding supply meaning properties in the South East are selling quickly and often at, or even above, asking price. The availability of lending to First Time Buyers (FTBs) continues to improve and with lenders offering FTBs incentives such as paying their Stamp Duty Land Tax bill, more young people will be enticed to take their first step onto the property ladder.

Commercial Leases and Break Clauses

In 2014, we reported on the Court of Appeal’s decision in the case of Marks & Spencer PLC v BNP Paribas Securities Trust Company (Jersey) Ltd (BNP Paribas). Following this, Marks & Spencer PLC were allowed by the Supreme Court to appeal the decision of the Court of Appeal to not grant them a refund of the rent they had paid past the break date of the lease.

Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards for Private Rented Property

If you are a Landlord of domestic and/or non-domestic private rented property and the Energy Efficiency Rating of that property (shown on the Energy Performance Certificate (EPC)) is F or G, then this article is relevant to you.


15A High Street
KT11 3DH

T: 01932 589599
F: 01932 505087

DX: 46102 COBHAM


156 High Street

T: 01306 880110
F: 01306 471230



The Tanners
75 Meadrow

T: 01483 861848
F: 01483 431965