After my Grampy had sadly passed away, family members were gathered and the contents of his will was read out by a professional.
No one queried the will or had any disputes over it.
But will disputes do happen and it is a lot more common than you think.
"Figures obtained by The Independent show a 700% increase over the last five years in
the number of actions launched at London's High Court to
challenge the provisions made in wills.
In addition, the number of cases aimed at having whole wills declared invalid
has nearly doubled" The Independent
It is thought that the reasons behind the increase of Will Disputes are:
- Do-it-yourself Will Kits - Widely available and a lot cheaper than using a professional. They can also be easily forged by deceiving family members and friends. Not many people know that these Will Kits are actually in fact only suitable for people with simple wishes. i.e The deceased wishes for everything to be left to their spouse. For anything more complicated than that, it is recommended that a professional is used to prevent problems.
- Using a family member or friend as the executor, rather than using a professional. Again, this is a cheaper option. But is it worth the risk? It is not uncommon for the executor to misinterpret the will by accident or even in some cases on purpose.
- Theft of assets by the executor. Not all family members or friends can be fully trusted and they could be out to defy and deceive for their own personal gain.
Family rifts also play a huge part in Will Disputes with members of family are often left upset and angry because they feel like they are owed more than another family member. Especially if that other family member did not play a key role in the deceased's life.
Or even that a parent has remarried and all of a sudden the son/daughter have been 'cut out' of the will, with all assets now going to the new spouse.
Some family members also are not happy with assets going to charities or non family members.
The Law Society is concerned about the absence of regulations for will writing and has been campaigning for many years to get will writing regulated. Their recommendation has not been followed, leaving people with no protection if a will is drafted negligently. Only those who have used a professional have protection.
What do you think? Have you ever had to start a will dispute because you think that the will was not right or had been forged?
Note: This is a collaborative post in which I was compensated for writing. All words and opinions are my own.