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The dangers of DIY wills

Oliver Embley sets out some of the issues to consider when drafting a will and considers recent developments in will writing

21 December 2015

The popularity of DIY will kits has arguably led to a significant increase in work for contentious probate solicitors.

For a will in England and Wales to be valid, it must be in writing and signed by the person making the will (the testator), in the presence of two independent adult witnesses.

Where there is no valid will, a person's estate
will pass under the intestacy rules on their death. These are government-prescribed rules setting
out who should inherit, dependent on which family members survive the deceased, and can
be at odds with how the deceased would have intended their estate to pass.

For example, for a spouse with a young child whose estate is worth £1m, the surviving spouse would inherit £625,000 plus personal possessions, and the child would inherit £375,000 at age 18. Not only does this create an inhe...

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