When making wills avoiding potential disputes should always be a consideration. Disputes post-death are all too common and can incur huge legal costs, stress and inconvenience.
The primary point of estate planning is to ensure that your assets pass efficiently to the people you want them to. Preparing your Will is the only way to ensure that there are no unintended beneficiaries of your assets. It also provides you with reassurance that your personal and financial affairs will be handled according to your wishes. Any rights or claims any person may have against an estate must be considered.
Explain All Aspects of Your Will
If you choose to benefit one person over another and your Will is unequal, explaining the reasoning behind this may be important. Similarly, if you do not wish to leave any part of your estate to someone who may expect to receive a share, you should detail why your Will is drafted this way.
By addressing your decision to exclude that person, they cannot claim that they were simply overlooked as you have explained the reasons for your action. This will reduce the likelihood of someone being able to challenge your Will after your death.
In England and Wales a person has testamentary freedom to dispose of their estate however they wish. There are no forced heirship rules compelling a person to leave their property to particular family members. However, there is the possibility that a person could make a claim under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975. In order to bring a successful claim the person must show that the deceased’s Will did not make reasonable financial provision for the claimant. It is therefore important to consider anyone who may be able to claim against your estate when drafting your Will.
Distribute Personal Items
While it is natural to be concerned about ensuring your wealth is distributed appropriately, you may also wish to give some thought to who will receive your personal items. By dealing with this at the estate planning stage, you can choose who should receive items of family importance and help prevent arguments over sentimental pieces.
Update Your Will When Necessary
Significant life events such as divorce or remarriage should prompt you to review your Will. This is because the act of marriage revokes any Will you may already have in place and divorce, too, has an impact on any existing Will. Therefore, should your personal circumstances change in this manner, you should seek advice and consider putting a new will in place. In any event, we recommend reviewing your Will every five years so that your Will remains fit for your circumstances.
If you would like to know more, then get in touch with the team here at Pannone Corporate on 0800 131 3355.