Not in Sound Mind: What Does this Mean for Wills?

Even when the circumstances surrounding a will are as legally-compliant and straight-forward as possible, it’s still a very distressing and difficult time. Therefore, when the idea of an individual not being of sound mind is taken into account, this can make it significantly more difficult to handle. It’s consequently important to know what to do in the circumstances of an individual being unable to formulate their own will, and The Inheritance Experts are on hand to guide you every step of the way.

What Does It Mean to be ‘Not of Sound Mind’?

To be of a sound mind, a person needs to have full comprehension of their self and their situation. In providing a will, a person needs to fully understand their affairs, loved ones and possessions. In turn, they must be able to formulate a will with a complete understanding of how they’ll distribute their assets. To be of sound mind, you also need to be able to make rational decisions and judgements.

This is different from being in a state of emotional capacity. Formulating a will in the first place is never easy. But being emotional or sensitive regarding the distribution doesn’t mean you’re incapable of making a logical choice.

What Needs to Be Done in this Case?

When an individual is not of sound mind, they’re incapable of making a rational decision in regards to:

  • possessions;
  • finances, and/or;
  • general affairs.

In turn, you should appoint a representative to make the decision on their behalf. This representative can distribute their assets accordingly and make the decision for them.

Electing an individual to this responsibility can either be a family member or friend, or a legal representative. Appointing the latter is most common due to the need for neutrality and a more analytical mindset.

Contesting a Will if you Think an Individual is Not of Sound Mind

It is possible to dispute a will if you are an external party who believes that the individual in question was non-compos mentis when they wrote their will. However, it can become very difficult to define being of a rational mind.

It’s different to making a decision which seems unexpected or nonsensical to a loved one or familiar individual. The writer of a will can make a rational and personal decision whilst also being of sound mind, even if that decision isn’t preferable to parties involved. This may be more in relation to an eccentric personality rather than a lack of rationality.

One must provide solid proof to attest that a person was not of sound mind when formulating their will. Of course, this then leads to difficulties in handling such a sensitive matter, which is why we encourage you to seek expert legal advice.

If you are unsure whether an individual is of unsound mind and require legal assistance, then don’t hesitate to contact The Inheritance Experts today.

A Forensic Handwriting Wills Expert to Examine Aretha Franklin’s Will

Aretha Franklin burst onto the worldwide music scene in the 1950s, developing a career that transcends her passing in 2018. Franklin’s voice and presence endure. But her family now deals with a stunning conundrum after the discovery of two wills. So wild is the news that a handwriting wills expert is now necessary to determine the future of her estate.

Some thought the singer, famous in part for her hit single Respect, didn’t originally leave an official will. Not only was one hidden, but another handwritten one now exists in the aftermath of her death. Hence, the need for a handwriting wills expert, to sort through:

  • One locked away in a cabinet.
  • The other one found under the couch.
  • Ergo, it’s only natural to assess the validity of these wills.

Franklin’s siblings at war

Franklin’s children are coming to terms with their mother’s death. However, the discovery of these wills present causes that force them to face each other in court. On one side, there is Kecalf Franklin, as the sole executor of her estate. Her youngest son, Kecalf is supporting the content of one of the handwritten wills from 2014.*

This will, however, rules out an inheritance for Teddy Franklin (her other son) and her niece Sabrina Owens. In turn, this is something that the other parties hope to contest. Kecalf is supporting his claim with help from handwriting expert Erich Speckin. In turn, his goal is to prove the will was indeed the product of Franklin’s own handwriting.

Additionally, Speckin has also been brought in to rule out any tampering with the will since it was written. To that end, Speckin can employ UV forensic technology to date the inks from the will. If Speckin can confirm the will’s validity, it’s possible that both Teddy and his other brother, Clarence will return fire. A beneficiary often does this by hiring their own forensic experts to contest the result.

Bringing in the Forensic Handwriting Wills Expert

With a whole host of forensic experts on the case, the lens falls on the handwriting in these wills. If the content of these wills was not contentious, then perhaps this expertise would not be needed.

However, due to the sensitive sibling tensions involved in the battle, these forensic examinations are more important than ever. Forensic examiner Bart Baggett outlines exactly what happens when someone examines handwriting.

“I always want to see the original because you can look under a microscope and see a pen lift, a hesitation, a striation.”

If these striations match Franklin’s other handwriting, Kecalf’s claim would be hard to dispute. He goes on to say that line spacing, autographs and birthday cards help to prove or disprove whether it is indeed her writing.

Baggett adds that he “would find it shocking if the other experts found that it’s not her writing. Because there’s just a voluminous amount of it and it’s so difficult to execute such an elaborate fraud. The skill level would be amazing.”

However, it’s worth noting that Baggett himself has not had a chance to examine the wills. Shedding light on the process of this, Baggett then suggests that Speckin must present his findings to the court and await judgement.

In effect, all handwriting examination can take place under the strict supervision of a court official. That way, no findings can be subject to accusations of fabrication or ultimately deeming the expert findings to be invalid.

From there, parties will need to come to an agreement over who takes charge of Franklin’s sprawling $80 million estates. Whether Kecalf (with the support of his brother Edward); or Owens, Teddy or Clarence become sole executors of the estate remains to be seen.

ADDENDUM:

As of late January 2020, Sabrina Owens is no longer the executor of Aretha Franklin’s estate. In a court filing, Owens states:

“Given my aunt’s love of family and desire for privacy, this is not what she would have wanted for us, nor is it what I want… I hope that my departure will allow the business of the estate to continue, calm the rift in my family and allow me to return to my personal life.”

Moreover, settlement of the estate itself remains up in the air. Since Owens left her post as executor, Detroit lawyer Reginald Hunter has taken charge of the estate (reportedly worth $17 million).

*To clarify, 2014 is when most believe the will was written.

Evidence to Contest a Will: What is Necessary?

Do you know what evidence to contest a will of a family member is most critical?

When a family member dies, it’s often a difficult grieving period for everyone who was close to them. Unfortunately, surprises in the testator’s will can cause more upset during this time. Often, some people find there are suspicious circumstances surrounding it.

No matter why you want to contest a will, you need proof to see a successful claim go through. It helps to know exactly what evidence is needed to contest a will.

So instead of searching for it, stick around and take note of these important steps.

Establishing grounds to show the evidence to contest a will

Knowing what legal grounds you stand on helps you determine if you can even contest a will in the first place. So let’s say, for instance, that you do meet the grounds necessary to contest a will. Knowing the reason why you are doing it also enables you to streamline how you collect evidence.

Here are some of the most common grounds claimants can use in order to contest a will.

The testator lacks the mental capacity to write the will

For example, if they were experiencing psychosis due to a mental health disorder.

They did not understand or approve the content of the will

Those hard of hearing, eyesight, or who dictate that someone else sign the will fall under this bracket.

Undue influence from another party

These grounds apply to when the testator faces consequential pressure to write their will a certain way.

The will doesn’t reflect a testator’s true intent

Accordingly, this is for circumstances where a will does not truly reflect the testator’s intentions.

Fraudulent Wills

Simply put, fraudulence is when benefits go to someone as a result of fraud. Moreover, you can challenge if fraud is even under suspicion, thus bringing the will itself into question.

Execution of the will violate the Wills Act 1837

Specifically, section 9 of the Wills Act 1837 is under violation in this scenario. As a result, the will becomes invalid and the estate passes under the statutory rules of intestacy.

Vital evidence to collect

Depending on which grounds you follow to contest the will, you’ll need specific evidence to back up your claims. One of the best examples is when you are contesting a will.* In this case, you will need to heavily rely on medical notes.

Witness Statements

Those present at the time of drafting and signing the will are important to determine if a will is valid. This also includes those who may have known the testator well before their own death. Examples of witnesses include**:

  • Solicitors who drew up the will;
  • People who witness the signing of the will;
  • Those, aside from medical professionals, who can attest to the testator’s state of mind during the signing of the will;
  • Family members who offer care and support for the testator before they die;
  • Anyone who believes they have knowledge of the testator’s previous intentions regarding their assets.

Helpful Documents

There may be written documents the testator had written which indicate something different from what was written in their will. This is a very helpful set of evidence, particularly contentious probate.

If you find and verify such documents, they could offer valuable insight into what their true intentions were. Seek legal advice from law firms that offer no win, no fee basis for a grant of probate and contesting a will after probate services.

It could be that you find a journal entry which speaks of any undue pressure they experience to change it. Also, seek out any letters written to someone expressing their sincere wishes.

Medical Evidence to Contest a Will

As we say, evidence to contest a will depends heavily on medical notes and medical records. Frankly, medical records are some of the most overlooked but important pieces of evidence. They can prove whether or not a person was in sound mind when creating their will.

Yet, they are also a testament to the testator’s health, age, and any disabilities that may impair their ability to make a sensible decision. Collect them from doctors or other medical professionals around in the time before the testator passes. Moreover, be sure to include notes showing which kinds of medications they may have been taking.

Probate registry is not an easy time to begin with, particularly for people lacking the regular experience to challenge the validity. Turn to TIE, as we have the knowledge and approval of successful probate challenges because we know the field. From time limits to make a claim to citing any lack of testamentary capacity in the deceased, we know inheritance claims.

As it should be: because we’re The Inheritance Experts.

FOOTNOTES
All UK Written Wills
No Win No Fee*

*This is because you trust that the testator lacks the requisite mental capacity to write it.

**But are not limited to.

Do I Have the Legal Right to Dispute a Will?

We say it often: experiencing the death of a loved one is never easy. When there are financial matters to attend to after they pass away, this adds even more distress to the grieving process. However, when it comes to the legal right to dispute a will, you need to explore your options.

Before you enter into a legal dispute over a will, ask yourself if it’s worth the tensions that may arise within your family. If so, here is how you assess whether or not you can legally dispute it, and how to increase your chances of a successful claim.

Legal right to dispute a will: the grounds to do so

Merely holding suspicions over a will is not enough to give you legal sway when disputing it. Most solicitors will require that you have solid legal grounds for a dispute before they accept a case.

Legal grounds may cover circumstances where:

  • There was no valid execution of the will.
  • Situations where there was no knowledge or approval of the will.
  • Any rectification grounds.
  • Undue influence.
  • Revocation.
  • Lack of testamentary capacity.

Further legal help may be necessary when contesting a will that may be fraudulent. This presents you with grounds to involve the police and could well result in a longer investigation.

Who can legally contest a will?

It is not just the grounds for disputes that you must consider. When assessing whether you are legally able to contest a will, you must also consider who you are. There is a long list of people who can do this. If you are on here, you are off to a good start:

  • Family members directly related to the deceased, e.g. Children or grandchildren.
  • Spouses who are still legally married to the testator.
  • Someone who expects something in the will before the testator dies, but was left out of it.
  • Debt creditors.
  • Someone who financially dependent on the testator.
  • A beneficiary set in a previous will, but not this one.

How to begin a dispute

Remember that as soon as a dispute is brought to light, you will have plenty of time to make sure you cover each stage of the process as thoroughly as possible. It helps to have a solicitor on hand throughout this time, who can provide both emotional and legal support to everyone involved.

While finding the right solicitor is a great first step, you must also make sure you have enough proof when presenting your findings. This is because merely speculative cause for a claim is lacking. It simply won’t give you the legal backing you need to ensure your claim is successful. Furthermore, you may launch a full-scale investigation into the validity of the will in the lead up to this.

It must also be noted that if you are set on disputing a will, do this before probate goes through to avoid drawing it out. It is more affordable for all parties to try mediation before beginning a dispute. Ultimately, however, one in four siblings say they would dispute a will. So, if an agreement cannot be reached, you are perfectly right to dispute yourself. This is as long as you are aware of the risks that come with a dispute.

What Happens If A Family Member’s Will Is Contested?

There may be many reasons why a family member’s will is contested.

  • It may be that a family member feels subject to unfair treatment.
  • Perhaps the will exists under negligent circumstances. For instance, the author of the will didn’t have the mental capacity to understand the legal document.
  • Or there may be suspicions around the authenticity of the will.

Whatever the reason, will dispute are valid and involve professional inheritance solicitor’s assisting with the proceedings. Below, we review what happens if a family member’s will is contested, and how it can affect you.

Legal Rights to Dispute the Will Require Verification

When a family member’s will is contested, the person contesting will have their legal rights checked. This means a solicitor first must ensure the person has the valid right to make a will dispute. In the case of a family member, blood relations can contest a will. If it’s your family member’s will under contest by a non-blood relative, they need to be one of the following.

  • First, they can be a spouse.
  • Additionally, it could include a creditor.
  • In all cases, the person is a beneficiary.
  • Moreover, it could be an individual who relies on the testator for financial or living support.
  • Finally, it could be an individual expecting something from the testator by promise, but the will doesn’t spell out. The promise varies in nature, usually: verbal or in writing.

If a non-family member is an individual contesting the will, then it will need to be an official family member who states whether they agree with the unfair treatment or not, for the dispute to proceed.

Seek Legal Advice at the Earliest Opportunity

There is a time limit on how long a will dispute can go on. With this in mind, professional solicitors advise for an individual to seek legal counsel as soon as possible to get the ball rolling.

Mediation Will Commence When a Family Member’s Will Is Contested

Once one assigns an inheritance solicitor, negotiations and mediation time begin, which can often take months. The aim is to come to an agreement satisfying all parties. In turn, dependable legal advice is crucial for this process. Moreover, it depends on the cooperation of the individuals in the process.

For example, say an individual can contest the will legally, but another party is unwilling to agree. Quite simply, the mediation time can extend even longer.

What Happens If Mediation Doesn’t Work?

If this is the case, then the dispute goes to court. The Courts will provide a date, which may include a long wait time – sometimes 12 months. No further action can be taken in the will dispute until the court date is met.

This, in turn, means a lot of extensive waiting. That waiting adds to the distress of the grieving process, especially if you seek closure on the situation.

A court hearing is also time-consuming and expensive, which is why an inheritance solicitor will always endeavour to settle and come to an agreement beforehand to avoid the need to go to court.

You must also submit a written affidavit in advance of the hearing.

Worth Making A Will Dispute? Find Out

Is it worth making a will dispute when all is said and done?

The passing of a loved one is a distressing situation, and all the more so when you may have to dispute a will. It’s easy at the moment to dismiss the idea of disputing it. You want to ease the situation as you manage your grief.

However, it’s important not to feel as though you’re alone. Moreover, the professionals at The Inheritance Experts can help if you find it’s worth making a will dispute during a difficult time. Here is the information you need if you think it’s worth making a will dispute. In turn, you can make an important decision regarding your future.

Worth making a will dispute? Leave it to Inheritance Professionals

It’s an overwhelming idea to think of contesting a will, without having any experience in the area and feeling a little out of your depth.

To decide it’s worth contesting a will, it’s important to note that you’d have absolute support throughout the process. Moreover, support from an inheritance solicitor who knows what they’re doing. These experts will represent any overlooked individual or invested party in order to gain the best outcome for all involved.

What Do I Need To Know Before Making a Decision?

Before disputing a will, you need to know whether you have a legal right to do so and whether your reasons for contesting the will are solid and just. It’s important to seek legal advice regardless of whether or not you decide to contest a will, just to ensure that all initial, adequate grounds are met in order for you to make an informed decision.

A professional inheritance solicitor will assess the intentions of the testator and provide their expert opinion. It’s also important to invest in a sympathetic solicitor who takes the time to get to know your family, in order for everyone to better cope through the process and maintain relationships.

How Long Does It Take?

If you’re considering contesting a will, it’s important to be ready for how long it might take. Every case is unique, and there is no set time frame, but you should be expecting months of mediation time.

The time frame also relies on the cooperation of all parties. Naturally, if everyone is cooperating, the process will be smoother and possibly quicker. If mediation isn’t successful, the case goes to court, which of course will strongly lengthen the process.

Court dates are sometimes given 12 months in advance. For difficult disputes, it could take significantly longer, perhaps even a few years. Can you hang on for that amount of time? Will the lengthy process hinder you? Then it may be worth making a will dispute.

If, however, the time factors are an issue for you, it may not be the best course of action. In summary, every circumstance is unique in terms of whether a will should be disputed. But it’s definitely worth at least seeking advice regarding your options in the first instance.

Contact the team at The Inheritance Experts for any queries regarding disputes. Even if you are unsure if it is worth it, we can help guide you through the process.

Jail Time for Son-in-Law who Forged Will

A man gets 12 months in prison for his attempts at forging a will for his mother-in-law.

Brian Fairs, 77, is guilty of copying and pasting Gillian Williams’ signature, then forging a will to try and ensure a share of her £100,000 estate. His wife, Julie Fairs, also earns a conviction of forgery and fraud. However, her 12-month sentence comes with a suspension.

Mrs Williams had cut her daughter and son-in-law out of her will to stop them from benefitting from her estate in death. During the hearing, the jury heard that Mrs Williams thought her son-in-law was ‘cantankerous and arrogant’, even ‘dominating’ of her daughter.

The judge hearing the case at Gloucester Crown Court was Recorder Mr Ignatius Hughes QC. Hughes says that it was clear from both her wills and conversations with others that the late Mrs Williams didn’t want either her daughter or Mr Fairs to benefit from her estate.

Thus, she wrote them both out of her will. Mrs Williams’ sister, Lynn Botchett, states in her testimony to Gloucester Crown Court that “she never wanted anything to go to Julie, never.”

Ms Botchett alleges there had been problems in the relationship. They stem from when Mrs Fairs and her biological father, Stan Howitt, spoke behind Mrs Williams’ back. Evidence shows that Mrs Williams made alterations to her will after the death of her son, Terence Howitt.

The genuine will against the forging of a will

The genuine will was made through Christopher Davidson Solicitors. Coupled with three beneficiaries – brothers Martin, Geoffrey, and Paul Davies – in it. Their father, Frank Davies, offers testimony of what Mrs Williams had told him within the three years prior to her death.

“There is no way I can leave anything to her. She has had everything she is going to get out of me.”

Fairs handles forging a will accusations

After Mrs Williams’ death in May 2017, Brian Fairs did a copy-and-paste of a signature from his mother-in-law’s real will onto a forging of a will.

The solicitors told the jury Mr and Mrs Fairs came forth with ‘three loose pages of paper together in a wallet’. Wills “tend to be bound together so you know there are no pages missing.” Plus, Mr Fairs claims that he himself wrote the will. She adds the following.

‘The signature was not an ink signature, it looked like it had been cut and pasted.’ and that he had ‘taken the signature off (of) a previous will. In addition, some page numbers and dates were not consistent.” Moreover, “some pages had staple holes while others did not.

The judge said he believes that Mr Fairs was the driving force behind the scheme and his wife had gone along with it. During his ruling, the judge spoke of Brian Fairs.

‘(He was) responsible for the dishonour that now falls on you and your wife for what you decided to do.’

In defence of Fairs’ actions

Brian Fairs’ defence solicitor says his client’s actions were ‘about as far from sophistication as one can imagine.’ He adds while both Mr and Mrs Fairs’ made denials, Mr Fairs now accepts that he was ‘incredibly stupid to start the process.’

Like to discuss an inheritance issue? Keen to discuss the effects of this story? It’s in your best interest to get in contact with us at The Inheritance Experts where we can discuss your issue or requirement.

DNA Test Inheritance: Care Worker Can Inherit Country Estate

After a long battle, a care worker will inherit a 1,536-acre National Trust estate. This results after a DNA test for inheritance shows that he was the rightful heir.

John Adlard Rogers rightfully inherits the Penrose National Trust estate, one of Britain’s finest estates. Rogers, 31, was finally able to prove that he was the illegitimate son of the previous owner, Charles Rogers. The test confirms John Rogers’ long-held claim that he was Charles Rogers’ son.

A long line of owners uprooted by DNA test inheritance

Charles Rogers was the last in a long line of aristocratic owners who had owned the estate for generations. Since he was eight years old, Jordan suspects that Mr Rogers was his father since the age of 8. However, his requests for a DNA test were always subject to denial.

But then Mr Rogers died due to health reasons involving drug use in August 2018 at the age of 62. Subsequently, Jordan was finally able to take the DNA test. The test to prove that he was indeed the rightful heir.

Jordan admits to struggles with making ends meet on his salary as a care worker for many years. He has now moved into the large house, located between Porthleven and Helston in Cornwall. The Rogers family gave the property to the National Trust in 1974 in return for a 1,000-year lease so they could continue to live there.

The family’s Trust generates income by renting land to local farmers and by investing in stocks and shares. This produces a substantial income for the tenant of Penrose, which means Jordan no longer needs to work. Jordan Rogers has recently become a father for the first time.

With the new inheritance, he has already made a couple of notable purchases:

  • The installation of an outdoor gym, or;
  • A brand new Mercedes C63.

In a Facebook post, Jordan can be seen displaying a photo of his brand new home. Rogers says that it has been, ‘a hard three months of fighting for what is truly mine.’

He also adds:

‘I’m sure there will be lots family barbecues in the future I also have a tennis court.’

‘Maybe then he might have taken a different path.’

Despite his new-found wealth, Jordan claims he would give it up if he could have been closer to his father. Perhaps owing to his care worker mindset, Jordan says he wishes he could have helped Charles turn his life away from the drug abuse which ultimately led to his death.

Charles Rogers waged a battle with drug addiction for several years. In the months before his death, he didn’t take care of himself in terms of both hygiene and nutrition.

An inquest heard that the testator was sleeping in his car. This instead of his Grade II listed home in which he lived. The car is where he was found dead due to drug intoxication.

Jordan spoke of the issues that may have exacerbated his drug use.

‘There was always a pressure of him trying to match expectation,’ he says. ‘His brother was an RAF pilot and his dad a lieutenant commander in the Royal Navy. So he had big shoes to fill.’

‘Charles served in the Army in Northern Ireland, and I think this affected him greatly along with the death of his brother Nigel from cancer who he was very close to.’

Jordan adds:

‘People say I’m lucky. But I would trade anything to be able to go back and for Charles to know I was his son. Maybe then he might have taken a different path.’

Perhaps you would like to discuss an inheritance issue regarding a similar situation. Alternatively, this story might have an effect on you to improve your experience. Reach out to us: it’s in your best interest to get in contact with us at The Inheritance Experts where we can discuss your issue or requirement.

How we can help you with testing results

Some of the ways we can help regarding inheritance DNA test dispute matters include:

  • genetic health investigations;
  • testators who died intestate;
  • mouth swab sampling, be it for a potential biological daughter or son;
  • a full study of the health risk data within the family;
  • any adverse inference from other parties or family members;
  • matters for the attention of the High Court (if necessary);
  • paternity test issues;
  • test to assist inheritance disputes and DNA samples;
  • birth certificate and other documentation matters.

We work exclusively with law firms authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority. Moreover, these specialist solicitors know case law for all things relevant to inheritance disputes. Therefore, when you think you’re entitled to a share of an inheritance, get in touch.

Poll Shows Millions Would Dispute a Will if Unhappy with Result

A poll of British people reveals millions would dispute a will if unhappy with result of the awarding of assets went down. The poll by Direct Line Life Insurance found that over 12.6 million British people would challenge a will in court.

  • Especially if the division of assets was inappropriate.
  • Even if the testator’s will was current and clear.

This finding is particularly interesting when we consider that around half don’t write a will at all. They don’t because they presume that their assets will automatically go to their spouse, partner or children by default.

Why Some Would Dispute a Will if Unhappy with Result

However, complications arise with:

  • multiple marriages,
  • half-siblings,
  • non-traditional families and;
  • couples free of weddings who live together.

Some people fail to update their will and sometimes a main benefactor may already be gone themselves. There were over 8,100 applications to contest wills in 2017, a 6% increase over 12 months. These ‘grants of probate’ cost £20 to file. That means British people spent £160,000 in one year on raising issues with wills.

According to a family solicitors, the most common reason for contesting a will in the UK is that the testator was under ‘undue influence’. In essence, someone faces pressure to sign a will which did not necessarily represent their true wishes. These petitions are not often successful: the challenger needs to provide a high level of proof.

Wills can also face challenges on the grounds of ‘testamentary capacity.’ In short, the legal and mental ability of a person to alter or make their will is in doubt.

There are also ‘rectification and construction’ claims that face contesting. This is the claim that a clerical error was made when drafting the will, and it didn’t truly reflect the testator’s wishes.

Business manager at Direct Line life insurance, Jane Morgan, says:

‘While people are increasingly contesting wills, everyone has the right to choose how they’d like to distribute their assets. Even if it seems unusual or excludes even the closest family members. People can be surprised and hurt by the contents of a will. So people may wish to discuss with beneficiaries and those that might think they would inherit. How they plan to distribute their assets.’

The difficulties of when you dispute a will

Unfortunately, the issue of money and trust is often problematic before death. A recent study reveals only half of adults would trust a family member to manage their finances if they could no longer do it themselves. A study by a legal service also found that over 33% don’t have a family member we would trust to take care of our affairs. Essentially, we don’t believe our family can manage our own money when we can’t do it ourselves.

It’s therefore even more surprising to learn that nearly 80% of those aged over 45 do not have a lasting power of attorney (LPA). This legal document identifies the people they would prefer to manage their affairs when they are no longer able to. Over 41 million people believe that they do not need an LPA as their loved ones would be automatically able to make decisions on their behalf if they could not.

Would you dispute a will if unhappy with results? We can help. If you’d like to discuss an inheritance issue or feel the effects of this story, reach out to us. It’s in your best interest to get in contact with us at The Inheritance Experts where we can discuss your issue or requirement.

Writing a Will: A Checklist

A Will writing checklist is a great thing to have for the Do It Yourself type.

Though you can make updates to your will, and if circumstances change a lot, you can make a new will entirely, it is best to know what to include from the start. This will simplify the process and ensure that your will is carried out as efficiently and as effectively as possible.

Your official Will writing checklist

Find Any Previous Wills

If you have any previous wills, you will want to locate them. You can then create a new will, but be sure to account for any previous editions, too.

Up-To-Date Personal Details

When creating your will (or updating it), you will want to ensure that all of your personal details are correct, up to date, and free of spelling errors.

Choose Your Beneficiaries

The next step is to choose your beneficiaries. Go through the list carefully to ensure that you don’t forget to include some people. You can name people to split up your estate to, and who to give special gifts to.

Make Special Decisions for Children

If you have children under the age of 18 or similar responsibilities, you will then want to outline who you want to take care of them.

Please know that this shouldn’t be a surprise. so gain confirmation from your friends or family. Then include that agreement in the will so that there is no reason to contest the issue.

Make a Note of Your Debts

When creating your will, it is important to work out your debts. If you have debts, these will be taken from your estate first. You can even write out a clause that states you wish the executor to sell your home. Accordingly, to pay off debts and to distribute other assets to your beneficiaries.

Tip: Work with The Inheritance Experts to work out how to minimise the impact of the Inheritance Tax.

Make Funeral Arrangements

With any will writing checklist, you also need to consider the inevitable.

To this end, you should work out funeral arrangements in advance. This way, you can ensure they carry out the wishes of your will. Moreover, you show you intend to pay for it (rather than forcing the family to bear the brunt).

Choose How You Wish to Divide Your Estate

Great: now you know how you intend to deal with debts and funeral costs. Furthermore, you will want to outline how you wish to divide your estate.

Make Provisions

It is also important to make provisions. If all your beneficiaries die before you, for example, you can name a charity to donate your estate to.

You can also add additions that explicitly exclude people who would otherwise have a reason to contest your will.

Make a Lasting Power of Attorney

To ensure your will is carried out, you’ll want to give your will a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA for short).

Store Your Will Safely

Last but not least you will want to store your will, any previous editions of your will and all codicils of the will safely. This way, there is no doubt as to which will is the one your executors are to carry out.

Though you can create a Will and Testament on your own, it is always best to create it with The Inheritance Experts. Thus, you ensure that your will is carries out correctly.

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