Beware drawing up a will without advice

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Those who attempt to act as the executor of a friend or family member’s Will without professional advice risk leaving themselves open to allegations of misconduct and even fraud, an expert has warned.

New figures from the High Court show that claims for mishandling a deceased’s estate increased from 107 in 2012 to 368 in 2013.

Such claims include theft of assets and favouring certain beneficiaries over others.

Now Stephanie Kerr, solicitor in the Litigation team at Napthens, has warned that it is very common for friends and family members to be appointed as ‘lay executors’ but most people fail to appreciate the complexity of the task.

She said: “Many estates are highly technical affairs. Handling an estate is not a simple task at the best of times.

“It is certainly the best idea to get professional support at what can be a difficult time,” added Stephanie.