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Asset Planning
| 12 May 2019

Probate disputes blamed on DIY Wills

Contentious probate claims are rising sharply according to the figures from the High Court and it is believed this is due to the complexity of modern family structures and the rise in property values.

DIY Wills are seen by many as a cheap and easy way in which to confirm who is to receive their assets after they are gone, however they are often full of errors and omissions. Also, Personal Representatives are also dealing with the distribution of the assets themselves, rather than obtaining professional advice.  It is not widely known that Personal Representatives remain personally liable for any financial loss caused to a beneficiary as a result of their negligence.

Probate can also become contentious if there is a conflict of interest with a family member administering the Estate, who is also a beneficiary. Professinal financial advice might be needed. 

Whilst it is not possible to prevent a Will being contested, it makes sense to have a Will written so that it makes clear what the Testator's intentions are and how they should be fulfilled. This will avoid any ambiguous words or clauses being used, and at the same time provides advice on the best way to minimise any potential disputes in the future. 

The original or copy Will can be held by the Solicitors’ Firm.  This has the additional benefit of important evidence being retained on the Will file, confirming that in the Solicitor’s opinion the Testator had the mental capacity to give instructions at the time they made their Will, and that they were not being unduly influenced, which are just two examples of grounds to challenge a Will by a dissatisfied beneficiary or a person who has been omitted from the Will.

For more information please call (01702) 338338, or email us on, for an appointment at any of our offices in Southend on Sea, Benfleet, Billericay and Stratford.

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