As the number of disputed inheritances increase, it has never been more important to have a properly drafted Will in place.
Making a Will to pass on your possessions after you die should be straight-forward. But unless you get it right, the consequences for your family can be devastating. Here are just some of the things people regularly get wrong when drafting a Will.
Drafting a DIY Will
It might seem like a cost-effective option, but quite often DIY Wills are rife with errors that mean they are not legally binding.
According to the experts, disputes relating to Wills have jumped more than a third in five years, and the growing use of DIY Wills and Probate is partly to blame for this increase.
Furthermore, DIY Wills often result in more Inheritance Tax being paid than is necessary as proper planning wasn’t made to protect an estate. Perhaps even worse, if insufficient inheritance tax is paid during the Probate process, this can trigger an investigation by HM Revenue & Customs and the executor may be liable to pay any shortfall.
Failing to update a Will
Many people don’t know that a Will can be invalidated. For example, if you get remarried.
As such, you must review (and, if necessary) update your Will after every significant life event. This includes things such as marriage, divorce, a death in the family, or the birth of a child. It’s also a good idea to review every five years or so.
With non-traditional family structures and second families becoming increasingly common, not updating your Will could have a devastating impact on the people you love and want to inherit.
Keeping your Will updated will avoid the stress, cost and fallout from a dispute.
Thinking a Will can’t be challenged
Even where a Will does exist, under the Inheritance Act, a challenge against a Will can be made where there is perceived unfairness, and reasonable financial provision has not been left. If such a claim is found to be successful, the Court has the power to re-distribute an estate. So, to ensure your Will goes to the people you want to inherit, professional advice is strongly recommended. It is usually easier to defend a Will if it was correctly drafted by a solicitor.
Not drafting a Will
The most common mistake when it comes to inheritance planning is not drafting a Will at all. However, while it is all too easy to put it off, whatever stage of life you are at, a Will offers the peace of mind that your money, property and other possessions will go to the people you want.