Research has revealed that the pandemic prompted millions of adults to start thinking about their will or to finally get around to writing one.
But while it is positive news that more people are getting their affairs in order, this surge in demand for wills has also coincided with a worrying increase in the number of people using low cost, online will writing services which could leave many families contesting wills in years to come.
Why is a will important?
Currently just 44% of UK adults have a will in place. Without a valid will, when you die your estate will be distributed under the Rules of Intestacy, which may not be in accordance with your wishes and can often therefore lead to unexpected results. For example, if you have a partner but you are not married or in a civil partnership, they have no right to inherit anything.
Furthermore, a will that is prepared with appropriate advice can incorporate useful tax saving and asset protection measures. These are often missed opportunities where people prepare online wills.
With so much at stake for your family’s future, it’s important to get your will written correctly.
A recent survey by Funeral Solution Expert revealed that 70% of consumers who believed they had simple affairs actually had complex needs that are not covered by a simple will. That is why it is essential to seek proper legal advice to ensure your wishes are properly addressed in your will and you do not miss out on key tax saving and asset protection opportunities.
The same consumer survey showed that most people did not read or understand the terms and conditions of their will. This means that any errors or small print disclaimers are going largely unchecked, and these are often only noticed after a person’s death when questions surrounding the provisions of the will are raised.
Increase in contested wills expected
The survey also found that online will writers make little effort to ensure people have the mental capacity to make a will and that they are not being pressured to make or change their will, leaving the door open to claims that a will is not valid.
Many people also do not know that their will could be challenged in the event of their death by a disappointed beneficiary who considers that appropriate financial provision has not been made for them under the will.
Unfortunately, it is the families and friends of the deceased who are often left to deal with any dispute surrounding the will. It is important therefore that that the right advice is provided at the time a will is prepared.
If you need support with writing your will or would like to get in touch with our Wills, Probate and Lifetime Planning team please contact Graham Fuller on 01743 284149 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.