Where There’s A Will
There’s A Way… To Get It Wrong
An increasing number of people are attempting to save money by writing their own Wills with DIY packs bought online and subsequently their executors are increasingly choosing to make applications for probate without legal assistance explains Rachel Bateson of Farleys Solicitors
While this may save money in the short term, without legal input it can lead to family disputes, a change in the intended distribution of the estate and more stress for the family members left behind.
The High Court has reported that the number of Will disputes has increased by more than a third in the last five years, with many of these disputes arising as a result of Wills being written without the benefit of legal advice and being signed 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 recorded, or dependants seeking 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 are kept, and the important assets included in your estate are documented.
A Will specialist can also provide advice on ways to avoid disputes after your death.
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 will not actually receive the amount you intend them to. 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
Should you choose to arrange probate without a legal professional, your executor will need to arrange for the correct taxes to be paid. If these aren’t paid correctly, HMRC may open an investigation which could subsequently lead to tax penalties, which on occasion may need to be paid by the executor from their own pocket.
It is understandable that you may want to investigate cheaper ways to write your Will and distribute your estate, but it is clear that cost cutting can lead to false economies when problems arise. A relatively small investment in Will services can reduce stress and financial problems for you and your family in the long run.
Now is the ideal time to assess your circumstances and put plans in place to get your affairs in order. If you would like to review your current Will, or have one drafted, contact Farleys’ specialist team on 01254 368040
Farleys has offices in Preston, Blackburn, Accrington, Burnley and Manchester