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estate, further complications are expected when it comes to the valuation of certain artefacts, too; such as unpublished music.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