No matter the size of your estate, it is advised that everyone should make a will at some point in their lives. By drafting a will, you can choose who you wish your executors and beneficiaries to be, and you can distribute your estate accordingly. A valid will that is made in writing and signed is hard to dispute, and can ensure that the relevant people benefit from your estate after your death. Despite this, only 31% of people have made a will although they understand the importance of having one. Without a will, your estate may be left to individuals for who you did not intend to receive a gift, and probate disputes can arise. Luckily, there are inheritance solicitors who can help.
Contentious trust and probate disputes are more likely to arise if a will has not been made or it has been drafted invalidly. Here at Van Eaton Solicitors in Streatham Hill, we have years of experience in handling inheritance disputes, involving wills and the distribution of an estate, providing us with sufficient knowledge to help our clients build their claims. One of our top priorities is to ensure that your case stays out of court proceedings wherever possible, implementing effective dispute resolution to help you reach a conclusion that suits your needs. Discussing your wishes following your death with your loved ones is incredibly important, in more ways than one…
Reducing the Chances and Cost of Probate Disputes
If you pass away before leaving a validly signed will, or no will at all, it is known as dying intestate. This means that the estate must be distributed according to certain rules; spouses, civil partners and close relatives such as children are usually the ones who will inherit the estate. You can read more about the rules of intestacy here. Disputes may arise if you are unmarried and your partner wishes to claim your estate. Since you weren’t married, your estate will usually be passed on to your closest relative. Unmarried partners can usually apply to stop a grant of probate from being issued and seek legal advice to see if they can make a claim entitling them to a share of your estate.
Although drafting a will can prevent these disputes from occurring, relevant parties may still be able to claim against a will if it is invalid. When making your will, you must be of sound mind and not be coerced into detailing its contents. The will must also be made in writing with two independent witnesses present. Certain relatives may be entitled to make a claim under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975 if they were financially dependent on you in life and have been left with insufficient financial resources. Despite this, making a will is the best way to ensure that your loved ones are properly looked after in the event of your death.
Keeping your Family in the Loop
Discussing your will may not be an easy topic to broach, but it is an important one, nonetheless. By keeping your family up to date every time you make amendments to the will, you can decrease the chances of anything taking them by surprise. Sudden changes to the will that don’t relate to the last will they were aware of can lead to claims in invalidity. Discussing your wishes with your executors, beneficiaries and other relatives can make your intentions as clear as possible, preparing them for the sad inevitability of your death.
Leaving a will should help the distribution of your estate run more smoothly. By discussing your will’s contents with your loved ones, as well as ensuring it is drafted lawfully, you can diminish the chances of inheritance disputes arising, relieving your loved ones of any extra stress and emotional turmoil following your death. In the event of a probate dispute arising, our inheritance solicitors in London can gather all necessary evidence to help you build your claim, protecting the estate and ensuring it is distributed accordingly.
To find out more, or to receive a free consultation to discuss your case, please give us a call on 0208 769 6739. Alternatively, you can fill out our online form here.