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How do I avoid fights about my Wills after I am gone?

"As the founder of Tipi Wills & Mediation, on talking to numbers of people and guaging feedback whilst setting up my business following hours, months and years of work, I have to conclude that sometimes a little knowledge can be a dangerous thing.  Even though I know what documents can and can't do in relation to my area of the Law of Succession, I also know their limitations and how difficult it is to cover the enormous variety and complex situations in society.  Even though I know all these things and passed my exams at 96% I am still nervous to ensure a belt and braces and approach.  Although it  may be correct advice that you dont need a Will in this circumstance, or you dont need a document in that circumstance, if it were me, I would prefer it to just do it anyway.  It is also the case that the law and courts can appear to be contrary and constantly do things that we were not expecting to turn things on their head. 

A judge even concluded that a solicitor having prepared a Will according to client instructions, and sent instructions for the signing of the Will now handing the matter back to the client, the solicitor did not subsequently receive the Will back and the client died.  Ultimately, this was deemed not the fault of the client but of the solicitor.  The contested situation for negligence was successful and left everyone wondering how far a duty of care has to go and our professional insurances rocket. 

The point is, even qualified professionals cannot know for certain and of course, lawyers will also always say they cannot know for certain.  However, many people seem to assume they do know and that all will be fine.  As professionals we attempt to provide the client with belt and braces advice and support and still the courts change their decisions as they adapt to evolving society.

Whereas it is always the case that the British have full testamentary freedom, ie can make a Will leaving things to whoever they wish which is not the case in all countries, things have changed slightly as decisions in courts have changed allowing disinherited children claims and other dependants claims as each case is looked at.  There are certain criteria that allow people to make claims upon Wills.  (This has also meant a large number of claims that should not have been brought, referred to elsewhere in our website, as people assume they now can).  Certain types of dependants have claims, the disinherited have claims, illegitimate unknown children have claims, long lost children have claims, ex spouses have claims.  However, if you have made a conscious decision to exclude someone, or a group, for a particular reason then the belt and braces approach is to record that and why.  This gives the claimant less power and provides information for legal advisors to consider.  It is important you do this and we will guide you through how to and ensure that the information remains with your Will in the event that someone might contest the contents of your Will. 

Be in control.  Be Certain

Trained by and Member of both Society of Wills Writers and Estate Planners & Society of  Mediators

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