The importance of creating and maintaining an up to date Will

The coronavirus pandemic has seen a significant rise in the number of individuals looking to either create or update their Will, with enquiries increasing by 70 per cent since lockdown measures were introduced in March.

The current situation is an obvious concern for many, and the importance of creating and maintaining an up to date Will has been highlighted with a study conducted by Remember a Charity finding that 68 per cent of adults in the UK do not have a valid Will.

As a result, many people are now looking to either create a new Will or update an existing Will to reflect a change in circumstances, such as a divorce, marriage or the birth of a new child or grandchild.

A rise in inheritance disputes?

There have been several high-profile cases involving inheritance disputes in recent months, including the High Court battle over the estate of the ‘Watership Down’ author Richard Adams and the daughter who successfully invalidated the Will of her mother due to delusions that she was a spendthrift.

The perception has been of a rise in the number of inheritance disputes, with concerns being raised over the fact that more than half of all parents in the UK with children under the age of 18 have not made a Will specifying how their estate should be distributed in the event of their death.

If you die without a valid Will, then fixed statutory rules (intestacy rules) apply. These are can be complicated and may result in your spouse not receiving the whole of your estate and lead to unnecessary payment of substantial amounts in Inheritance tax.

They could leave an unmarried partner with nothing and thus to a costly claim against the estate and enormous delays in anyone receiving anything. Even more complications can arise if you have children from a first marriage. The rules may mean your second spouse has to leave the matrimonial home.

With careful planning and our expert advice, all this can be avoided by a thought out professional drawn Will.

Addressing the issues

The complex nature of modern families, with the rise of the blended families and step-children, can create issues when it comes to Wills and inheritance.

This makes it even more essential that not only do you create a Will, but that you ensure it is up-to-date following any significant changes in your life. This includes events such as marriage, divorce, the birth of a child or grandchild, or the death of a loved one that may be included in your Will.

Disputes arising from former partners can be complicated, particularly if there are children from a second or third marriage, and it may be that former partners are also entitled to a share of the estate.

How we can help

It is essential that individuals seek expert legal advice when creating a Will, to ensure that their wishes are carried out upon their death, and to avoid any costly mistakes.

Our experienced team can ensure that your affairs in order, to give you and your loved ones peace of mind.

For help and advice on matters relating to Wills and estate planning, contact our expert team today.

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Jeffrey Cohen
Jeffrey is Head of the Private Client department of Mackrell.Solicitors’ London office and joined the firm in May 2014. Jeffrey is a highly experienced private client lawyer and focuses on all aspects of private client law, wealth management, tax and trust law including estate and inheritance tax planning.