April 28, 2016

Concern over the danger of DIY wills

Individuals have been warned about the dangers of “cutting corners”, not least the possibility that basic mistakes can easily render a document invalid.

Common mistakes including failing to appoint executors, making invalid amendments or setting down instructions that are contradictory or unclear.

The risks were highlighted earlier this year by the case of Eileen McCormack, who had to spend more than two years untangling her cousin’s estate after it emerged that the DIY will he had made prior to his death carried no legal weight.

“There were hand-written amendments in different-coloured inks, plus the will wasn’t witnessed at the time it was drafted – nor when any of the changes were made,” she said.

“He constantly amended it and moved figures around, altering what people were due to inherit.”

Gillian Guy, chief executive of Citizens Advice, has previously warned about the additional strain that these sorts of situations can place on families.

“When wills go wrong, people may lose their only source of income, property is left in limbo, and the financial and emotional cost of dealing with the fallout can be huge.”

For legal advice on drafting or updating a will, please contact Tony Millson and Deanna Hurst in Royds’ Private Client team.

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