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Reducing The Risk Of Will Disputes 08 August 2014

HLF Berry's specialist wills and probate solicitors have witnessed a rise in contested wills and disputed inheritances over the past few years, but there are positive steps you can take to reduce the likelihood of either scenario arising for you in the future.

If you do not have a will your family and friends are at the mercy of the intestacy rules which state that the spouse and immediate family inherit the estate. What is more, the intestacy rules do not automatically mean that a surviving spouse automatically inherits the whole estate, despite common belief. Loved ones may be excluded as a result and decide to make inheritance claims, causing a great deal of stress at an already emotionally difficult time. 

Despite the trauma not having a will can cause loved ones after a person's death, more than 60 percent of individuals in the north-west of England do not have a will. Make sure you do all you can to protect your interests together with those of family and friends, by making a will.

A professionally drafted will should reduce the risk of any will disputes and inheritance claims following your death. By stating clearly and precisely how you wish your assets and estate to be divided and distributed, you have control and the power to take care of loved ones after you've gone.

Furthermore, a watertight will is not only less likely to be challenged at a later date but any disputes that do arise are less likely to be successful. It is normally homemade wills or wills made at a contentious time, (for example, when someone is poorly or more susceptible to another's influence), that lead to disputes and inheritance claims - which is why it's so important to have your will written by a legal professional.

For help making a will or reaching a satisfactory settlement with an inheritance claim, contact our wills and probate team.