Wills and Probate News: July 2018 Posted by Probate Bureau , 11/07/2018

Wills and Probate News: July 2018

Wills and Probate news compiled by The Probate Bureau.


Wills and probate experts in Hertfordshire and Essex, the Probate Bureau, have compiled the latest news, advice and guidance on Wills and Probate from around the world.


Why it pays to know about writing a will

OVER 60 per cent of people don’t have a will, a recent Which? survey found, reports Metro.news.


While creating a will can seem daunting, it’s easier than you think. Here’s what you need to know:


■ You can decide to write a will yourself, or seek professional help from a will-writing service or solicitor, which could cost anywhere from £80 to over £500 for complex cases.

■ In your will, you can outline who will inherit any property or assets, who will look after your children if both parents die, and who you’d like to act as the executor (the person to carry out your final wishes).

■ Two witnesses must watch you sign the will, and neither the witness nor their spouse can inherit anything from your estate.

■ Keep in mind that getting married will automatically invalidate any will you’ve previously made, unless it has a marriage expectation clause.

■ Your executors will need the original signed copy of your will after you die, so it needs to be stored in safe place. Most solicitors will store your will for no additional cost, but be sure to inform your executors where it is stored.


Don’t put it off: protect your loved ones with a will

Almost two thirds of us have not put our affairs in order, which could be storing up trouble for families, reports thetimes.co.uk.

More than 30 million British adults are not covered by a will, and those who do make one generally don’t get around to it until they are 47, according to Which?, a consumer group. A survey of 2,078 people found that 61 per cent did not have a will, which would equate to 31 million of the UK population.

Of those who didn’t make a will, 38 per cent said that they had nothing worth inheriting, 20 per cent said that writing a will had not occurred to them, and 16 per cent said that they had been too busy. More people in England had made a will than in other regions — 42 per cent compared with 35 per cent in Wales and 31 per cent in Scotland — with the highest levels in the southwest and the lowest in London.


Contesting a will: when and how you can make a claim

If you feel you have been unfairly disinherited, you suspect foul play, or a family member lacking mental capacity left their fortune to a questionable beneficiary, the law allows you to contest a person’s will reports the telegraph.co.uk.

Here is a quick guide on the grounds for contesting a will and how to make your complaint.

Capacity

In order for a will to be valid in the eyes of the law, the person making the will needs be of sound mind.

They must understand that they are making a will and the effects of its contents. They have to be clear of the nature of their estate and its value, and understand the consequence of excluding certain people from the will.

Crucially, they must not be suffering from any disorders of the mind such as dementia, which may have undue influence on their decision making and lead to them making gifts they otherwise would not have made.

Lack of execution, knowledge and approval

A will is a formal legal document. While you can write it yourself, it needs to be done properly, signed and verified by two witnesses who also need to sign.

You can contest if there is evidence a will has not been properly put together.

You can also make a claim if you believe someone was unaware of the contents of the will, or that they would not have approved if they had been.

Making a Claim

If you think you have grounds for complaint then it is important to move quickly, preferably before probate is granted. The longer you take to lodge an action the weaker your case will be when it comes to court. Initially the costs are relatively low. If you feel you have cause to challenge a will, seek specialist legal advice as soon as possible.


Need Advice?

The Probate Bureau offer financial and inheritance tax advice, Will writing and probate administration services throughout Hertfordshire and Essex. Call a member of our friendly and knowledgeable team today on (freephone) 0808 120 5420

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