February 10, 2017
Here are the most common mistakes people make on their Wills and Probate.
‘Common Law Marriage’ Applies
Often, cohabiting couples will assume that their partner will inherit all their assets in the event of their death, if they don’t have a will. However, under the rules of Intestacy in England and Wales, if you and your partner are not married, the other partner will receive nothing from your estate. While they may be able to later claim against your estate or receive your share of a jointly owned property, there is no guarantee.
A Will is ‘Watertight’
It is often believed that a will cannot be varied or challenged after their death. However, there are a number of ways in which your will and estate can be challenged, and there is no guarantee that the wishes contained in a will are always carried out. However, there are ways to minimize the risks of a claim being made, for example if you were to ensure the will makes a reasonable provision for financial dependents.
Wills Don’t Have To Be Updated
A will usually reflects your circumstances when it is made, meaning if you are single and have no children when it’s made it is highly unlikely to make any provision for your spouse or children if you later marry and start a family. Therefore, as your personal circumstances change, you should always review your will to see whether or not it still represents your circumstances and wishes.
Bargains Are Always The Right Choice
Will writing is an unregulated industry in England and Wales, leaving individuals with many options as to how they choose to write it. The traditional option is to find a solicitor or professional will writer to draft a will for you. However, DIY will kits are just as popular for people wanting to write their own will. These can lead to the will being marked as invalid though so it’s important to take this into consideration first.
Time Limits Don’t Apply
Once an estate has been administered, it will become more difficult to recover the assets. If you have a claim against an estate or concerns about a will, it is important to raise these issues and obtain specialist legal advice as soon as possible, rather than waiting for several years. In some cases, the time limit involved can be as little as six months for the date of the grant of probate.
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