As many as three and a half million adults are risking their family and loved one’s financial futures by using homemade or DIY Wills, according to a survey carried out by legal and financial planning specialist Ensure Inheritance.
“We found that more than 15% of people who have a Will had no professional help in drawing it up, potentially depriving those they care about of their inheritance and of future financial security,” says Andrew Simpson, a Lead Panel Solicitor with Ensure Inheritance, who specialises in Wills, Trusts and Estate Planning.
“Millions of people who believe they have done the right thing in preparing a Will are actually risking their assets going to the Government in inheritance tax, in care home fees or the wrong beneficiaries receiving the wrong bequests,” continues Mr Simpson.
According to Mr Simpson, typical mistakes with DIY Wills include not dealing with all of the estate, wrongly identifying beneficiaries or assets, not appointing executors, using the wrong legal terms or being witnessed incorrectly leading to the Will being deemed invalid.
He says: “If a Will is witnessed incorrectly then the person who thought they had a valid Will is declared intestate after their death and the government determines who will inherit. This means that their final wishes will not be carried out and could leave some loved ones, particularly unmarried partners, with nothing from the estate.
“DIY Wills are also much more likely to be challenged in the courts. In fact there is a saying in the legal profession that lawyers make more money sorting out homemade wills than they do drawing up wills for their clients,” says Mr Simpson.
“People who have made DIY Wills may have thought they could not afford to pay a professional to help them, but when you consider what can go wrong and how loved ones can suffer, the question should be can you afford not to pay a professional?” concludes Mr Simpson.
Based in Seaham in County Durham, Ensure Inheritance provides a range of legal and financial planning services which help protect financial assets to provide their clients and their loved ones with peace of mind. In addition to Wills and Estate planning, services include: long term care planning, funeral planning, inheritance tax planning, powers of attorney, court of protection deputyships, and probate.
*Ensure Inheritance’s sample asked those who had a Will whether it was homemade or done through a DIY kit. The finding of 15.9% was then multiplied by 22 million adults known from previous surveys to have made a Will.