Monday, September 22, 2008

Probate News Sept 2008 The London Telegraph has an article in todays paper "How to make sure your will is not contested"

Fay Copeland of the firm Wedlake Bell says it used to be that the only questions asked where about the validity of a will. The firm claims that will and trust disputes have trebled over the past few years. Now as people are leaving more wealth it is financially feasible to contest a will. Another factor in the rise in disputes is the more complex family structures created by a rising divorce rate. Beneficiaries are looking past what the will says and more about what they think they should have been entitled to.

The gist of the article is that writing a will or a trust may be insufficient to stop family arguments when you die.

Know what and how much you own.

Name your executors and make sure they understand the responsibility that they are taking on.

Talk to your heirs in person to explain the reasons for your decisions.

Leave a letter of intent, especially if you disinheriting or are leaving unequal bequests to your heirs.

Make sure your document is signed and witnessed properly and that the right people know where you keep it.

If you have children under 18 years of age, write a letter of wishes to your appointed guardians giving guidelines as to how the children should be raised.

Make sure to keep your will updated.

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