Increasing numbers of people are hoping to save money by writing their own wills with DIY packs bought online and arranging for probate to be completed by a friend or family member without legal knowledge. While this may save money in the short term, it could lead to family disputes, a change in the intended distribution of the estate and more stress for the family members left behind.
In the last five years, the High Court has reported an increase in the number of will disputes by more than a third. Many of these disputes have come about as a result of wills being written without the benefit of legal advice and being executed without a solicitor present.
Family Disputes from a DIY Will
Will disputes amongst family members usually come about as a result of someone feeling they have not received what they were expecting; verbal agreements not being placed in the will; or dependants seeing further financial provision as they do not feel that they have been adequately provided for.
Even the closest family dynamic can be challenged by unexpected will content. Having a legal professional involved from the outset will ensure your will includes necessary provisions, records of verbal agreements, and a list of all important assets included in your estate.
A will specialist can also provide advice on ways to avoid disputes during probate.
Tax Issues with DIY Wills
If you haven’t been advised how much tax may be payable upon your death, when making your will, it may be that your beneficiaries may not actually receive the amount you intend them to and additional tax may be payable as a result of how you have chosen to divide your Estate so it is always advisable to speak with a legal professional to discuss Inheritance Tax prior to making a Will.
Tax Issues with DIY Probate
If you choose to arrange probate without a legal professional, your executor will need to arrange for the correct taxes to be paid and, if they’re not correctly paid, HMRC may open an investigation and if the Executor has not paid the correct amount of tax penalties may be incurred which on occasion may need to be paid by the executor from their own pocket.
It is understandable that you may want to look into cheaper ways to write your will and distribute your estate but it is clear that cost cutting leads to false economies when problems including those mentioned above arise. A relatively small investment in will services can reduce stress and financial problems for you and your family in the long run.
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