There are a growing number of cases where people are challenging wills and fighting for a slice of inheritance that people never intended them to have.
In UK law, everything has a right to be challenged – that is our legal system – however, your actions in your day-to-day life and how you write your will can at least make it as watertight as possible.
Make a will
As we’re taking about wills and disputes, there are still many of us that don’t even bother to make a will, and this can be disastrous when it comes to stopping those who we don’t want to get hold of our assets after we die.
If you don’t make a will, intestacy rules come into force. On estates worth up to £270,000, your spouse or civil partner would automatically get all of the estate, but if it’s worth more than that it will be split equally between them and your children. Money that isn’t inherited by your spouse could therefore trigger an inheritance tax bill which nobody wants!
Devil is in the detail
You can buy a ‘do-it-your-self Will’ from the internet or even a local shop and will most likely get change from a £10 note. However, the chances of it being accurate and covering all bases are pretty slim. Making sure your Will can’t be contested and that every eventuality requires details that most people will not think to consider but that experts will guide you through. They will gather all the information and advise you on the structure of your Will so that it is as watertight as possible.
Consider a Trust
Placing assets into a trust ahead of anything happening to you will protect those assets from any legal challenge once you die as the assets no longer belong to you, rather the beneficiaries. It is also a great way of reducing the amount of tax payable once you die, as anything in a trust is exempt.
Mirror and Common Wills
When it comes to disputes with Wills, it is often the case where second marriages are involved and mirror Wills have been written, with the surviving spouse changing their Will after the first person has died. This can often mean children by first marriages are then cut out of the inheritance.
While Mirror Wills are relatively common, a Common Will can be a better option as it will have contractual agreements within it that will specify what happens to assets and will stop the surviving partner being able to change what was originally intended. This will cut out a lot of distress and heartache that can arise later on.
Challenging a Will
A challenge of a Will can be successful if the challenger shows that they were dependent on the deceased whilst he or she was alive. For example, they receive a monthly allowance from you at various stages of their life.
They can then contest that they remain dependent on your in death and that they need a proportion of your assets in order to live.
If you are currently in this situation, the best thing to do is to reconsider all options, especially if you are considering leaving them out of your Will.
Wills can be a complex document to get right, especially when a large amount of assets are involved. Turner Little are able to help you prepare your Will while also reviewing your current situation to help protect your estate from paying large sums of tax in the event of your death. Contact our trusted team today.