The serious consequences of delay in seeking legal advice were underlined by a case in which a woman waited until she was resident in a hospice, terminally ill with cancer, before instructing a solicitor to prepare her Will.
The High Court honoured a pensioner’s bequest of by far her largest asset – her £350,000 home – to only one of her three children.
The question of where an individual is domiciled is often of crucial legal significance. However, as a High Court ruling in the context of an international Will dispute showed, the concept of domicile can be highly slippery and has much more to do with a person’s state of mind than it has to do with residence.
The potential liability of criminals to pay compensation to their victims does not come to an end with their death.
The whole point of engaging a professional to draft your Will is to make your wishes clear in precise and unambiguous terms. If your Will falls below that high standard the result, as a High Court ruling showed, can be a family stalemate after you are gone.
Just because someone is old, frail and vulnerable does not mean that they are incapable of understanding the contents of their Will.
In this case, a deed stored in a solicitor’s office for almost 20 years proved decisive in resolving a bitter family inheritance dispute…
Even the most carefully considered Will cannot guarantee that harmony will prevail amongst your loved ones after you are gone.
Home-made Wills may save you a few pounds in the short term, but dispensing with legal advice greatly increases the risk of painful disputes arising after you are gone.
Failing to put your affairs in order in your declining years is an invitation to conflict and needless expense after you are gone.