The UK Wills, Probate and Trusts Market Report 2022, produced by IRN Research highlighted a rise in the number of contentious probate, wills, and trusts. The report confirmed that there are now 646 law firms in England and Wales offering advice on contentious wills, probate, and trusts, this is more than double what it was in 2018.
One of the reasons for the increase is the growing popularity of DIY Wills and probate, particularly during the Covid-19 pandemic, when more people were deciding to draft their Wills online at home without seeking professional help. In their report the IRN confirmed that in 2020 over 40% of probate applications were made by individuals rather than professional advisors, this was a record high.
DIY Wills and probate without professional advice can have potentially devastating effects and can result in estates not being administered in line with what the persons wishes, or intentions may have been. Drafting inaccuracies can result in a partial intestacy, whereby assets that form part of an individual’s estate have not been specified in the Will. Such assets then fall under the intestacy rules to be distributed accordingly, however this may not be in accordance with the person’s wishes when making their Will. Additionally, a Will is likely to be invalid where errors have been made in the drafting process, or where a Will has not been witnessed correctly.
Further problems may arise when a Will is created near the end of a person’s life, when they may be suffering from a disease or illness that affects a person’s mental capacity. In this situation the validity of a Will could be disputed on the grounds of testamentary capacity i.e., that at the time of making the Will the person to which it relates did not have the relevant mental capacity. This could result in the Will being contested, which can be an extremely time consuming and expensive process.
At mfg our private client team has a wealth of knowledge when it comes to preparing a Will on your behalf. Our team of experienced legal advisors will take the time to understand your individual needs and circumstances to ensure that your will accords with your wishes. To talk to us about making a Will, obtaining probate, or dealing with the administration of an estate, please contact our Private Client Team by calling 01562 820181 or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org