Nobody wants to think about dying. This makes it very easy to put off writing a will until it’s too late. However, in the midst of a global pandemic, we have all been reminded that life is unpredictable – and the urgency of creating a Will has increased.
A Will is a legal document that states how an individual would like their property and assets dealt with following their death. A Will is a vitally important document because, although many people assume otherwise, your next of kin Will not necessarily inherit your assets – and an “off the shelf” DIY will is not an adequate way to deal with your estate.
A poorly drafted Will can lead to many pitfalls – it may not deal with the distribution of all the assets in the estate, or it may be invalid as it has failed to comply with the relevant requirements (such as witnessing the execution). In such cases, the deceased will be treated as having died intestate (or without a will) and the estate will be distributed in accordance with the rules of intestacy.
In cases where a home-made Will has been drafted and witnessed properly, it may have failed to provide for certain family members or dependants. This, in turn, has often resulted in costly inheritance claims being brought against the estate, vastly depleting its assets.
A Will written by a regulated professional, such as a solicitor, minimises the risk posed by such events. Solicitors are regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority, and additional protection is offered by the Legal Ombudsman.
You should update your Will on a regular basis, making sure that it reflects your current wishes and circumstances. For example, if you have recently had children, gotten married or divorced, or moved in with your partner, it is a good idea to take these changes into account. This is the real value of a regularly updated, and professionally created, Will: it is the best way to ensure that your loved ones are looked after when you’re no longer here to do it.
For more information please call David Lee Solicitors 01926 852 188.