Nowadays, with a growing trend in people not marrying, and roughly 60% of the adult population not having a Will, Will disputes are on the rise.
So what can you do to ensure this doesn’t happen, and your wishes are abided by?
1. Make A Will
This is the only way to guarantee your wishes are documented. Unfortunately, unmarried couples are not recognised in the eyes of the law. If you die without a Will, your partner may not be provided for no matter how long you’ve been together.
2. Keep Your Will Up To Date
Circumstances change, and Wills may become out of date. If you do not update your Will, it may not actually reflect your dying wishes, leaving family and close friends upset and disappointed.
It is important to update it every time something changes and don’t leave it for another day. Anything could happen!
3. Professional Advice
Sometimes, to abide by your wishes, the family circumstances may suggest a dispute. Take professional advice when writing your Will.
This may be a cost you wish to avoid, but it will be far better than the costs incurred to the family when contesting the Will.
Not only this, the professionals will not only ensure your Will reflects your wishes, but it is valid too.
In the case of a dispute, it is harder to challenge and invalidate a Will that has been prepared by a professional.
By all means, a family member is allowed to help, especially if they’re elderly or vulnerable, but without the assurance of capacity, and the professional seeing the individual alone, it can be viewed as suspicious and raise the question of undue influence.
4. Write An Accompanying Letter
Think about why you are writing your Will as you are, and record your reasons for this in a separate letter.
It is better to have inheritance discussions before death, however if this is too hard, an accompanying letter clearly explaining your reasons will reduce the stress and upset of the situation.
Sometimes, people just need to understand why, and if you aren’t there to ask, that becomes impossible.
5. Reasonable Financial Provision
No matter what, under the Inheritance Act 1975, a beneficiary could claim financial provision from your estate.
If you firmly believe a disgruntled beneficiary may do this, it may be a good idea to include financial inheritance for them.
It may end up less expensive, and you can ensure it is provisional on them not making a claim.
Assets can be left in a Trust specifically designed to be left to a particular person under the protection of Trustees.
This could be the case if your child is in a difficult marriage and you don’t wish the money to be included in a divorce, or if your beneficiaries are of an age deemed to be too young to inherit.
For information regarding any of the above, contact LCS now on 0345 017 8250 and ensure you have peace of mind this Christmas.