The current climate has triggered many new Will enquiries and these queries have highlighted that a lot of people’s affairs will not be dealt with how they intend due to common misconceptions.
The following are examples of frequent misunderstandings regarding Wills:
1. The “common law marriage”
Many people are under the impression that long periods of cohabitation with a partner results in a “common law marriage”. However, this is not the case.
Without a Will in place, your Estate is dealt with under the Law of Intestacy which does not allow a cohabiting partner to inherit from your Estate. This means that your children, parents, siblings and even ultimately, the government, are prioritised over your cohabiting partner.
Therefore, the preparation of a Will is vital if you wish for your partner to inherit from your Estate.
2. Automatic guardians
It also appears that many people believe that close relatives would be automatically appointed as guardians of any infant children if they were to die. However, it is the decision of the Court to appoint guardians.
By preparing a Will naming guardians, your wishes for who should look after your children would be known if you were not here to express them.
3. Undisputable Will
A significant reason for the increase in Probate litigation is the rise of homemade Wills. It is a common opinion that the terms of your Will are final and you are free to gift (or not gift) to whoever you choose.
This is correct to some extent, however, there are various people who can make a claim against an Estate.
Therefore, it is highly recommended that you obtain professional advice in relation to a Will to ensure that you protect your wishes as far as possible.
These are just a few of the misunderstandings that we hear regularly and our team of Will specialists provide expert advice to make sure our clients are not relying on misinformation.
If you have any questions concerning the above or would like to make an appointment with us, please contact one of our highly experienced Wills and Estate Planning experts on 01702 474149 (Leigh on Sea) or 01268 774073 (Rayleigh).