Is DIY a DON’T?

Solicitors remain the public’s first choice for wills, according to a new report.

The number of people using solicitors’ services to make their wills has increased by two per cent in the last four years – set in greater context by a marked decline in the number of people using will-writers and the will-writing services of banks and other organisations.

Will Aid, which conducted the research, also found that the use of online services has more than doubled since 2009. Homemade wills have more than doubled since 2010. Both, however, remain a relatively small share of the market.

Will Aid campaign director Peter de Vena Franks said: “It is evident from both research and from the popularity of Will Aid that the public prefers to use a solicitor to write their will wherever possible.

“They are aware that with a solicitor you can be assured of a valid will and if anything does go wrong, there is proper insurance and redress.

“This may not be the case with an unregulated provider and certainly isn’t the case if you write your own will.”

Lee McClellan, a Palmers partner and specialist in wills, said: “These findings are not a surprise, nor is Will Aid’s assessment that solicitors remain popular due to a sense of trust the clients feel.

“At Palmers, we understand that writing your will is incredibly personal, which, to a degree, may explain the rise in DIY. But we would always recommend professional advice. One only has to recall the recent high-profile case in which an individual could not benefit from a parent’s share in property because it had been incorrectly bequeathed by a bank’s will-writing service, or to consider the significant increase in challenges to wills, which are more likely to be both brought and brought successfully against homemade wills, to see the advantage of instructing a solicitor who specialises in this area of law.

“People should remember that solicitors are never telling people what to leave behind, only the right way to do it. Our service is a safety net, it’s about peace of mind – something a DIY service cannot claim with the same degree of certainty. For more information, please contact us.”