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Disputes over probate triple as people make DIY wills

One of the problems that can arise out of DIY wills was highlighted by data released by the High Court recently.

The figures show that the number claims concerning the mishandling a deceased person’s estate has tripled in recent years.

There were 368 claims in 2013, while the figure was just 107 in 2012.

It’s thought many of the claims were as a result of people having made a DIY will and appointed friends or family as executors rather than involving a solicitor. Unfortunately, it can turn out to be a false economy.

Claims against executors range from theft of assets from the deceased person’s estate to fraudulent distribution of assets that favour one beneficiary unfairly, especially when second marriages and complex extended families may be involved.

In some cases, an amateur executor may be tempted to purposely misinterpret the will so that it meets what he thinks the deceased person should have said.

Of course, many executors do a perfectly good job and even those who get it wrong aren’t necessarily acting out of greed or malice. In many cases it is possible that honest mistakes will be made. However, this doesn’t lessen the heartache and stress for the grieving family who may have to take court action to put things right.

Please contact us for more information about the issues raised in this article or any aspect of wills and probate.