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Contestation warning on DIY wills

Figures recently released by the High Court show that in 2013 there was a 76% increase in inheritance disputes from those heard by the Court in the previous year, increasing from 490 cases in 2012 to 891 cases in 2013.

The High Court’s figures do not give further details of the number of different types of inheritance dispute being dealt with, but the figures would include:

  • Claims questioning the validity of a Will
  • Claims against an estate by a person who has not been provided with a sufficient sum for their maintenance or needs
  • Claims concerning the conduct and duties of executors of Wills
  • Claims arising from improper administration of an estate

For instance, a person completing a will by themselves without the assistance of a solicitor might wish to save expense in the short term. However, the creation of a DIY Will could raise the questions such as whether the document contains that person’s true intentions, or how to interpret wording which might have been written in an ambiguous way – an issue that a solicitor would have anticipated during the making of a will.

These questions can then require the involvement of a solicitor to deal with a subsequent dispute.

If you have any concerns about any of the possible claims above and would like to understand more, please contact Stephanie Kerr for an initial discussion.

Stephanie Kerr, Disputes & Litigation Solicitor