DIY WILL or not DIY WILL – taken from the IFA Magazine
In recent years, there has been a rise in DIY Wills that has resulted in a 37% increase in family disputes, through attempts to block the legal process of dealing with someone’s assets once they have died (known as probate in England and Wales). This 37% rise is reflected in nearly 10,000 challenges to the distribution of inherited estates in English and Welsh courts and tribunals service centres in 2021, up 37 % compared with 2019.
Quite clearly in 2020 the COVID pandemic changed many things which resulted in many people putting their affairs in order, ‘just in case’ and of course writing a Will was part of that.
Looking back you may think it was a bit of a ‘knee jerk’ reaction, but let us not forget, many thousands of people passed away because of COVID. Ideally, it is best to plan ahead without the emotional aspect of what could potentially happen.
As many have now discovered, writing a DIY Will was better than not having a Will but lacked the professional input that would have saved so much heartache and distress after someone had passed away.
“Statistics show that the pandemic was responsible for a spike in DIY Will writing, possibly to save money and now with the current cost of living crisis what may appear to be a short term saving could end up causing many issues but these could be made even worse if a family can’t access any money, for months or perhaps years, after the death of the main earner.
It is fair to say that the law is complex and if you aren’t familiar with the process and terminology of writing a Will, it’s all too easy to invalidate it or leave it open to challenge.
Family structures within the UK are becoming increasingly complicated with blended families, broken relationships, and debt. Now, even more so, it’s important to make sure your Will is legally correct. By taking professional advice can save you money in the longer term. Advanced planning can potentially help reduce the amount of inheritance tax payable on death.
Having a Will provides clarity, particularly if there are children, blended families, or cohabitees. This maybe a subject that you prefer to avoid or put off until tomorrow, but once in place you can get on and live the rest of your life.
Think of it as a life insurance policy, it’s there when you need it. Without a Will, the alternative is the laws of Intestacy and at this point the state will decide who and where your estate should be distributed.
• More than half of adults (56%) in the UK don’t have a valid will, rising to 79% for 18–34-year-olds.
• Of those who don’t have a will, 47% see the value, but haven’t got around to making one
• Six in ten (62%) people haven’t reviewed their will in over a year, with three in ten (29%) leaving it more than 5 years
* Wills research commissioned by Royal London, Opinium surveyed 2,000 UK adults in September 2021