Category Archives: Wills

Why you should make sure your will is in order

Although creating a will can be a lengthy process, and it might be something that you have put to the back of your mind, it’s an important document and it is the only way to ensure your property, money and other assets are going to the right place once you have passed away. Not only does having a will in place for when you pass away leave you with the peace of mind, knowing that your assets are being taken care of, it can also save legal costs mounting up due to lengthy court proceedings, which in turn may create family feuds.

Complications can arise if there is no will in place, and if one does not surface there are certain legalities that will need to be taken into consideration; for example, did you know that if you are unmarried or in a relationship where you have not registered as a civil partnership you are not entitled to inherit anything from each other unless there is a will specifically stating so? And if you have children, a will becomes even more important as arrangements will need to be made for these to be financially dependent after you are gone.

Family feuds

Family fall outs surrounding wills are bound to happen, with certain people in the family thinking they deserve more than what they have been left, or someone being left out entirely. If a will is not in place, it is impossible for the family to know what your last wishes were for your assets, and whilst you may have verbally stated this to a family member you trust, this will not be legally binding and if there is likely to be family fallouts then it is bound to be contested.

When Prince passed away unexpectedly in May this year, a will did not surface causing reports of family feuds over who is getting what out of his estate. Due to the fact he has no spouse or children, his estate is most likely to be split equally among his siblings and half-siblings. For someone with a lot of property, business and wealth, not creating a will is now going to cause a long, expensive and complex legal process to divvy up the assets behind his million-dollar estate, further complications are expected when it comes to the valuation of certain artefacts, too; such as unpublished music.

Finding a solicitor

Whilst it is not a legal requirement that you use a solicitor to draw up, or witness your will. This is something that is only advised if the will is straightforward. A solicitor can help you understand the legal proceedings and formal requirements needed to make a will valid; mistakes are easily made, but involving a solicitor in the proceedings can cause misunderstandings and disputes, resulting in considerable legal costs which can reduce the amount of money in the estate.

It is also worth knowing that a will can be challenged in England and Wales under the 1975 Inheritance (provisions for family and dependents) Act if a person was financially dependent and this ceased, or was substantially reduced on death.

Inheritance Act Statement, this document is generally written at the same time as your will, and will outline the reasoning behind you laying out your will in such a way; this statement will come to fruition if the will is contested by someone who feels they are being unfairly treated by the will.

Article supplied by Vincent’s Solicitors

Wills: the facts and figures

The number of people writing wills has increased in recent years – with 48 percent of adult respondents to a survey saying they have written a will, which is good news.

The survey, carried out in 2014 by Lightspeed Research for the charity Will Aid, surveyed some 2,250 people aged 25 to 84 and from England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

Here are some further interesting findings from the research:

  • 48 percent of adults say they have written a will (an increase of 4 percent and the highest percentage of people saying they have written a will since the survey was first run in 2006.
  • The greatest increase in percentages of people writing a will in the younger age group (aged 25-34) where the percentage has doubled, up from 11.6 percent in 2013.
  • But it is only in the over-55 age group where a significant majority has made a will.
  • In terms of geography, Northern Ireland still has the lowest percentage of people with a will and the south and east of England has the highest percentage of people with wills.
  • 55 percent of people who are married or in a civil partnership have written a will, while the number of separated people with wills has increased (48 percent, compared to 41.3 percent the year before).
  • Worryingly though, 56 percent of parents do not have a will at all and a further 23 percent have a will but have not named guardians – which means that 79 percent of parents with dependent children haven’t named guardians for them.
  • For the people in the survey who did have a will – 68 percent chose a solicitor to write their will, 12 percent used a will writer, 6 percent used a DIY will kit and 6 percent a home-made will.
  • More than 25 percent made their first will between the ages of 30 and 39 years, 18 percent when they were between 20 and 29 and 13 percent made their first will when they were over the age of 60.
  • Motivation for making or updating a will varied according to age – for those aged between 25 and 44 they wanted to provide for their loved ones, respondents aged between 45 and 64 were reacting to changes in family circumstances such as births, deaths, divorces etc. and the older age group wanted to ensure their affairs were in order.
  • But of people who had written a will, almost 60 percent of those hadn’t written a new will or updated an old one for more than five years and 21 percent hadn’t checked their will still reflected their wishes in more than ten years.

Leaving a will and ensuring it reflects your current wishes and family circumstances is very important. The family of Rik Mayall can certainly testify to that, as sadly the comedian did not leave a will which means his family could face inheritance tax charges of thousands on his £1.2 million estate.

Age is no barrier to accident and illness, so as an adult you are never too young to write a will, and unfortunately dying intestate is all too common – of the 50 million adults living in the UK, 26 million (52 percent) have not written a will.

Here at Finders International, it’s our job to find rightful next of kin to an intestacy (when unknown or unconfirmed) or the heirs to a Will where the information stated is out of date and has failed to identify or locate the correct beneficiaries.