A New Year. Time to make a new Will.
A new will? Maybe, you might say. Most of us think about making changes at the beginning of a new year, better still making plans for a brighter future. Yet, so few people have taken the most vital step in protecting themselves (and their family) by making a Will.
More than half the adults in the UK have not made a will, leaving over 30 million of us unprepared for death – untimely or not – and leaving their family in a mess of uncertainty.
Yet it’s a fairly simple process. And one that will benefit the people you care most about, keeping it out of the hands of the state or family you feel have no claim to what you own.
No doubt, there are many reasons for not making a Will – “I’m too young” or “I don’t have enough to bother” or “I can’t afford the cost”.
Equally, many think their spouse will automatically get everything or that because they have been living with someone for years they will benefit. Unfortunately, it is not as simple as that and not often the case.
Avoid Potential Disputes
Disputes over estates and Wills are becoming more and more common as modern life gets more and more complex, especially in relation to ‘mixed’ families. Complicated domestic circumstances, divorce and further expanded family trees all contribute to arguments and legal battles after people die.
One of the most common grounds for a Will dispute under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975 is that there isn’t a Will. The fact is that the only way to guarantee your wishes are carried out is to draw up a professional Will.
Anyone can draw up a Will at any time, so this new year is the perfect time to start. But it’s important to do the job right. The rules around the creation of Wills are very strict. Mistakes made on Wills can be serious and even render the document invalid.
For example, Wills have been successfully contested just because they have been signed incorrectly (in the wrong place) or have been subject to the wrong process by Witnesses or the Willmaker. In determining what ‘signing’ actually means courts can determine a Will invalid even when it has been filled out correctly.
Professional Advice Can Help
It might seem like an unnecessary additional cost, but it is important to seek the services of a qualified, experienced lawyer when drawing up your Will. Taking professional advice will ensure your Will is written in correct, clear legal language. The language used will be appropriate so that your wishes can be effectively carried out. Working with a professional reduces the risk of a disputes to a minimum.
Remember too, circumstances change. So even you must keep your Will up-to-date. For example, in the case of a divorce, a Will that not has been updated might still leave everything to your ex-spouse and not include your new partner or any children from your new relationships.
Don’t worry, it doesn’t need to be complicated, stressful or overly costly. Sorting your affairs out now saves time and money in the long-run.
If you have any questions or need additional information, please contact us. We’re very happy to help.
Please note that all views, comments or opinions expressed are for information only and do not constitute and should not be interpreted as being comprehensive or as giving legal advice. No one should seek to rely or act upon, or refrain from acting upon, the views, comments or opinions expressed herein without first obtaining specialist, professional or independent advice. While every effort has been made to ensure accuracy, Curtis Parkinson cannot be held liable for any errors, omissions or inaccuracies.