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Made a DIY will during lockdown? Why now is a good time to get it checked

The pandemic has prompted many people, young and old, to get their affairs in order by writing a will.

In a rush to get the ball rolling, growing numbers have opted for a DIY version, either going online or using a proforma will pack bought from a shop or newsagent.

Did you know?

Recent statistics from one will-writing provider showed a 267% increase in demand for online wills in 2020 compared to 2019, with a direct link to what was going in the news at the time. For instance:

  • The highest number of remote wills were written on 6 April, the day Boris Johnson was admitted to intensive care;
  • One of the biggest drops was recorded on 2 December, the day the Pfizer vaccine was approved in the UK.

Can a DIY will ever be a good option?

At face value, a DIY online will can look attractively cheap – some sell for as little as £6.99.

However, the real cost can end up being disproportionately high if it turns out that the will has been incorrectly drawn up and is therefore declared invalid.

As we tentatively ease out of lockdown, now is the perfect time to have your DIY will double checked and reviewed by a properly qualified lawyer.  At Wards Solicitors, we will check your DIY will, free of charge.

What can go wrong with a DIY will?

Will making is not always straightforward. Family set-ups can be complicated and the legal process for correctly drawing up a will is strict.

For example, if your will is not signed or witnessed correctly, your estate may end up being treated as if you had died without making a will at all. This is called dying intestate and means your estate is left to your next of kin in a fixed order, decided by the government and not necessarily as you wanted.

Family disputes over wills, already growing in number, are expected to rise still higher in 2021 with the popularity of DIY wills considered a key factor in the expected increase in court cases.

In addition, most people don’t know that the DIY will market is unregulated. This means you have nowhere to go for redress if something goes wrong. There are also often hidden costs, like being charged an annual fee for storage, something Wards Solicitors does not do.

Why should I get my DIY will checked by a solicitor?

A correctly drawn up Will is an inexpensive way of avoiding difficulties in the future for your family and friends after your death and brings peace of mind by putting you in control of the final destination of your estate.

Our specialist Wills and Probate solicitors are all highly experienced. Most are members of Solicitors for the Elderly (SFE) and the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners (STEP). Both organisations require the highest standards from its members with proven qualifications and experience.

We can:

  • Check over and review your DIY will for you free of charge;
  • Advise you how to amend it if necessary to protect your wishes;
  • Ensure your will is as robust as possible just in case it’s challenged in the future;
  • Explain wealth preservation steps you can take to minimise your liability for Inheritance Tax and maximise tax relief.

Get in touch

Please contact our Wills, Probate and Mental Capacity team for help and information if you want to make a new Will or review an existing one.

You can find your local Wards Solicitors’ office here

 

 

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