InsightsInsight - Wills and Probate - POSTED: October 28 2019
Why Halloween is the perfect time to update your Will
What better time of year to consider the importance of Wills, and what benefit they can offer to the living.
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While Halloween may be seen as a time to dress up and eat sweets, traditionally it was a Celtic way to remember the dead.
If we go back to the Halloween analogy – and it would be a pity not to use it further – Wills can be viewed as either a ‘trick’ or a ‘treat’. Hear me out. Firstly, it’s beneficial to discuss just what a Will is, though oddly the law does not provide a conclusive definition.
A client recently said to us that a Will is an ‘admission of morality’, which is perhaps rather morbid, but the premise of a Will does rest upon our eventual death. Put simply, a Will is a legal document that disposes of a person’s property on death.
A Will has been described as a ‘treat’, a privilege that it is granted by law to a person who is of sound mind to distribute their property as they please. But if we die without a Will, our property is distributed through the intestacy rules. This essentially means that the distribution of your estate is conducted by a set of legal regulations, rather than your individual preference. Don’t be caught off guard – this is most certainly a ‘trick’.
In recent years, the internet has provided us with the ability to draft our own Wills for free. We know that everybody loves a freebie, so surely this is a ‘treat’? Unfortunately, not. According to research by This is Money, DIY Wills have been attributed to a surge in court cases as families fight over inheritance. Figures released earlier this year show that the number of inheritance disputes heard by the High Court has increased by over 60%, which has been attributed to the rising popularity of DIY Wills.
Self-drafted Wills often lead to a person’s estate being held under the rules of intestacy. Self-drafted Wills may save a few pennies at the start but can often led to individuals spending more than they would have had they instructed a solicitor. Self-drafted Wills are by extension a ‘trick’, they haunt your estate and result in complicated, lengthy and costly litigation.
Wills prepared and drafted by your solicitor are ‘treats’ for you and your family; Wills offer protection to your family and to your wishes. Wills enable you to plan for the future and provide for future generations.
Of course, Halloween analogies aside, drafting a Will is a very serious matter and it’s important for all of us to choose how we want to distribute our property while we still can.
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