Will and Probate Pitfalls: The Importance of Legal Guidance

Will Probate

In the area of Wills and Probate, it is becoming more common for a Will to become contested. This area is also becoming one of the largest areas of law to have complaints made at the Legal Ombudsman. One of the causes of these complaints are due to the poor drafting of the Will. This, inevitably, could lead to the incorrect distribution of your estate.

Legal battles over the validity of wills are on the rise, posing a potential threat to familial relationships. Disputes may arise from perceived entitlements, questions about the testator’s mental capacity, or errors in the will’s wording, leading to unintended asset allocations. 

All of the above issues can be a result of a Will not being drafted correctly or accurately. This could lead to the will becoming contentious. Contentious probate refers to any dispute about how a person’s estate is passed on after they pass away, this includes but is not limited to, contesting a will.

In today’s day and age, the idea of a will and its complexity is undermined. The option to get this made as cheaply as possible is becoming more and more attractive. For example, you can pick up a DIY Will Making Kit from a store, or you could hire an, assumably less qualified, will writer. This article will explore these options and show how these are leading to probate pitfalls in society.

Unlike solicitors, will writing services lack legal training and regulation requirements. While will writers offer attractive pricing, their varied qualifications may lead to lower standards in will drafting. Opting for a qualified law firm, despite higher costs, ensures a well-drafted will, safeguarding assets and reducing the risk of disputes. Law firms like Nicholls Law are knowledgeable in will disputes and relevant laws like The Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975, thus avoiding common pitfalls which lead to contenious probate.

A key issue with DIY Wills is ensuring their validity. This is due to the stringent requirements in their drafting, witnessing, and signing which can be missed. An invalid will leads to estate distribution under the Rules of Intestacy, which may not reflect cohabiting or unmarried relationships, often seen as unfair. Self-drafting can be suitable for straightforward cases, like leaving assets to a spouse or children. However, in more complex situations, such as with unmarried couples or stepchildren, it’s prudent to seek a solicitor’s expertise. This will help ensure the will accurately reflects the testator’s wishes and legal standards.

To conclude, the surge in contentious probate cases can be attributed, in part, to the underestimated complexity of wills in society. The allure of cost-effectiveness has prompted individuals to opt for DIY wills or engage less qualified will writers. However, the financial appeal of these alternatives should be weighed against
the pitfalls they potentially pose. While the price discrepancy between a will writer and a qualified law firm may be significant, overall, the quality of the will and the assurance that assets are safeguarded and distributed correctly should weigh up the use of engaging a reputable law firm.

Find out more about our Wills, Trusts and Probate services. 

 *Please note this blog does not constitute legal advice*

 

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