One of the most important documents you will ever make in your life is a will. It highlights exactly what you wish to happen to your assets in the event of your death, and how they are to be distributed. If the document is drawn up and there are issues arising from the will, a dispute will very often arise, as the topic can cause uproar arising not just from the distribution of the estate and financial expectation but also from the emotional fall out when you are left out or treated differently than say, your siblings. This can lead to contentious probate issues following a death. Usually, making a will and administering the estate following a death is straightforward and hassle-free, and understanding the different types of wills that can be made, it can hopefully make the process much smoother.
Here at Van Eaton Solicitors in Streatham Hill, our expert inheritance dispute solicitors have years of experience in helping both claimants challenge a will and executors defend any accusations of invalidity. Whether you are a family member of the deceased or a spouse or civil partner, you may be entitled to make a claim under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975 to ensure that the deceased person’s estate is distributed fairly and in accordance with the wishes of the deceased. By understanding the different wills that can be drafted, you can help build your case should any disputes involving the estate arise…
Possibly the most popular and recognisable will, a single will would be suitable for anyone looking to outline their wishes after their death. Although it is often presumed that single wills are best suited to people who are not in a relationship or divorced, you can still draft one if you are married, in a civil partnership or relationship. However, single wills are recommended for those in relationships if their partner has different wishes to them. How your assets are divided is laid out within the will, and it should be signed with witnesses present. It can also determine plans for your funeral.
If you find yourself involved in a dispute as you attempt to distribute the contents, we are here to help. We can provide you with expert legal advice, helping you build up your case and make it as airtight as possible. To find out more, you can view our probate dispute services page here.
If you and your spouse have the same wishes in the event of your deaths, then a mirror will could be the best choice for you. Each person will get a document, but the contents will mirror each other. When one spouse dies, the other will receive their whole estate. When both spouses die, the estate will be distributed as it is laid out in the will. There is still flexibility to make personal decisions, however, there needs to be an element of trust involved, as there is no guarantee that your estate will be passed on to your loved ones.
Your surviving spouse is well within their rights to cut out direct relatives such as children and can alter the will as they wish. Also, there is no legal requirement to inform your spouse should you change your will. This can lead to will disputes further down the line, as loved ones may make a claim under the Inheritance Act for ‘reasonable financial provisions.’ You can read more about making a claim against a will in our previous article here.
Trust and Property -Will Trusts
There are various types of will trusts, allowing you to distribute your property as you wish. A discretionary trust is used to leave your estate, or part of it, to a trust that will take effect after your death. You can choose your own trustees, who will administer the trust in accordance with your wishes. They are often used for providing assets for young children or loved ones who are unable to manage their own property and finances, such as those with learning difficulties.
Property trust wills allow a beneficiary to benefit from property held in a trust, but still preserves a part of it for other beneficiaries. For instance, if you wish to give a part of your property to your children, but you wish for your spouse to still have the right to live there, a property will trust could be what you need.
Here at Van Eaton Solicitors, we have extensive experience in handling a range of inheritance disputes, providing us with the knowledge to help you build your case effectively. To find out more, or to book a free consultation, please give us a call on 0208 769 6739. Alternatively, you can fill out our online form here.