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A Thousand Ways Not to Die


Most of us have seen, or at the very least are aware of, the American television series ‘1000 Ways to Die’.  The series wittily illustrates unusual deaths, which some might describe as insensitive, and explains the science behind each of these deaths.  This blog is not intended to delve into unusual deaths or science.

What it is intended to do is highlight that undoubtedly, one of the ways not to die, is without a Will.  

You can control, to some extent, what happens to your Estate, and hard-earned money, after you die.  Dying without a Will, or dying with a defective Will, often causes unnecessary trauma and family disputes, which can deplete your hard-earned funds.  The likelihood of legal disputes occurring within your family is reduced when you have a Will that is valid, comprehensive and reflects your wishes.  Many of you reading this blog will no doubt recall a discussion with a friend, or remember your own experience with your family, related to disputes about Wills. 

People often say they don’t need a Will because they don’t have much to leave.  This is simply not true.  Where there is no valid Will, the laws of intestacy apply.  Even if there are no disputes, the absence of a valid Will places unnecessary extra burdens on loved ones in obtaining the authority to deal with your Estate. 

Disputes between beneficiaries of Estates with little value are a daily occurrence.  Disputes may arise about:

  • who should be in charge of administering your Will;
  • what your wishes were;
  • whether or not adequate provision has been made for those who need it, etc.

The Court can reprimand beneficiaries or make Costs Orders, which can be quantified.  However, what cannot be quantified are the emotional scars and resentment that such disputes can cause.

Today’s society is becoming more complex, and your Will needs to reflect this so that it covers a wide range of possibilities.  When individuals choose to draft their own Will, they may be unaware of changes in the law, or what choices are available to them.  There is also the risk that the Will drafted without professional advice could be declared illegal or ineffective, and not achieve what you may have intended. There are a number of factors that are crucial for you to consider before drafting your Will. 

There is no excuse for not having an effective and legal Will, which has been made with the benefit of professional advice.  If you do not have a current Will, or have any questions or concerns regarding your Will, please contact our very experienced Wills and Estates Team at Butlers, no matter how simple or complex your Estate may be.

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Thursday, 11 August 2022