The ongoing pandemic has understandably caused many people to make Wills for the very first time. “Do It Yourself” Will-making kits have become an increasingly common means of creating a Will in recent years. They are a cheap alternative to a professionally prepared Will.
But beware, homemade Wills may still come at a significant cost.
The recent decision in the case of Face v Cunningham has increased the likelihood of homemade Wills being challenged via the Courts. The Court heard that the alleged Will of the late Mr Face could not possibly have been signed by the gentleman himself. Whilst such incidents of fraud are rare, the real impact of the judgement is to reverse the burden of proof from the complainant to the estate. In future, it is the Executors of the deceased who must take the time and trouble to issue Court proceedings to prove a Will.
This is a considerable departure from the Court’s previous position and means that homemade Wills will come under very close scrutiny in future. There is an automatic presumption that if a Will has been prepared by a Solicitor that the Will has complied with the requirements for legal execution. Home-made Wills are not afforded the same protection.
If you have a homemade Will or, like Mr Face, you have a complex family dynamic, your Will may be challenged in the Courts. You may be able to avoid any future disputes by executing a Will prepared by a Solicitor.
Please call us on 01543 440308 if we can help.