When a loved one dies it is a distressing time for their family. Often, there are a lot of legal matters to process which can make the situation even more stressful.
One of the most important things to do is to write a will to ensure your wishes are carried out after death. This document is a clear reflection of your final wishes and it will help to avoid disputes between family members.
Having your estate managed correctly will also prevent your loved ones from paying unnecessary tax. Inheritance tax is payable on any assets that are valued at over PS325,000 for an individual or over PS650,000 for a married couple. A specialist wills solicitor can help to minimise the risk of paying inheritance tax by drafting a Will that takes into account any possible issues.
We can assist with contested wills as well as assisting with the administration of estates. We can also advise you in relation to Lasting Powers of Attorney, Property Trusts and proprietary estoppel claims. Our team of expert solicitors can provide the advice you require, whatever the issue.
A good quality Will can help to minimise the chance of a dispute, but sadly it is not always possible to prevent them completely. In most cases, disputes involve allegations that the deceased lacked capacity when they signed their Will or the Will was forged. This is a complicated area of law that requires expert evidence from medical, forensic handwriting and valuation experts.
Disputes can also be caused by clerical errors or poor drafting that renders the testator’s wishes unclear and unfulfilled. In some cases, these issues can give rise to a claim for professional negligence against a solicitor or will writer.
As an alternative to a solicitor, many people choose to use expert will solicitors a will-writing service. These services often offer a cheaper option and store your documents, but they are unregulated. Giles Wilson will not only draft a will for you but will store it free of charge, providing a higher level of security than most will-writing services.
The best way to avoid a dispute is to make sure that your Will is clearly written and up-to-date at all times. Major life changes such as marriage, divorce, children, births or the purchase and sale of property may require revisions to your Will. It is also a good idea to compile a detailed inventory of all your assets and document the percentages that you wish to leave each beneficiary.
If you decide to contest a Will, it is crucial that you supply the required expert evidence at the earliest opportunity. Failure to do so will expose you to paying your opponent’s costs from that point onwards. If it becomes apparent that your challenge is unlikely to succeed, then you should withdraw from the proceedings as soon as possible. A solicitor will be able to provide you with the evidence that you need to do this. This will include witness statements, GP records and other documentation.