Stand & Deliver - Your money or Your Life

Stand and Deliver, Your Money or Your Life

Modern families come with many complications, from divorce to Step-children our lives have become far more complex than previous generations. This can cause some serious issues when it comes to Wills and how our wishes are carried out.

As our lifestyles change so have the strains placed on family relations – frequently this can cause estrangement between parents and children, between siblings and so on. These problems can spread into such important decisions as Beneficiaries of our Wills. It is all to easy to believe once we have written someone out of a Will that the matter is over.

However the 1975 Inheritance Act does mean that claim can be made to on your estate by certain people. Put simply your Will can be contested if you purposely don’t leave provisions to those who may, under normal circumstances, be included.

So what can you do to protect your Estate and wishes? Firstly it’s always best to have your will drawn up by a reputable professional. By taking detailed drafting notes a professional can gauge any potential claim triggers and discuss with you the steps you can take to mitigate future claims. Estate planning and ensuring you protect the people and assets you value most can be complicated. Using a professional gives you the best chance to have your Will achieved. The Society of Will Writers regulate their members – look for their ‘Safe to do Business’ logo.

A letter of wishes can also be used to support the detail of your Will. By explaining your rationale, in language that is not blame based or spiteful you give any Judge who may have to preside over a claim against your estate a better understanding of the reasons and decision process you made. Additionally, it can be better to include a small gift to estranged members rather than nothing at all – it softens the potential of any claim if they have not been totally excluded.

Consider getting your GP to provide a ‘capacity report’ prior to writing your Will, with Mental Health awareness becoming more discussed, such a report can be effective at ensuring that mental capacity can not be used as a challenge to your wishes.

If possible attend your appointment with a Will Writing professional alone or, if a mirror Will, with your partner, and don’t have a friend or family friend ‘waiting’ for you. Undue influence can be used as a wholly acceptable reason to challenge a Will. When making your decisions let those around you who will be effected by your Will know your wishes. If there is no surprises there is less likely to be controversy when the time comes to execute the Will.

Having your Will hijacked can cause such distress to the loved ones you leave behind, so contact Langhams Wills Ltd on 01473 487611 to gain the best advice and have your Will professionally written, or email