7 Tips for Dispute-Proofing Your Will
None of us want to imagine our wills being contested through a lengthy court battle between family members. From the emotional impact to the financial, contesting a will is never the best-case scenario – for anyone. Here’s what you need to know about creating a watertight will that won’t leave the door open for life-altering rifts between family members.
Tips for Dispute-Proofing Your Will
1. Work with a solicitor
A solicitor with specialized expertise in inheritance law is the only person who can offer the reassurance and guidance you need to ensure you’re not making any mistakes or oversights in your will. With their experience in inheritance and trusts – and with what they’ve learned from acting as will dispute solicitors – they understand the insides and outs of this complex area and know how to pre-empt any potential issues long before they become issues.
2. Be open and honest
Writing your will doesn’t need to represent some closely held secret. Even though it can feel a little uncomfortable broaching the topic of death with your loved ones, practicing plenty of candor over your plans for their inheritances is one of the best ways to avoid disputes after the fact, and to keep everyone on the same page.
3. Update your will regularly
No one can say that the will they wrote in their thirties is still perfectly applicable in their eighties. Things change, relationships come and go, new family members enter the fold, wealth grows, and the number of noteworthy assets in your possession will no doubt evolve.
The term ‘updating a will’ is something of a misnomer. When the time comes to make additions or remove certain items, you will need to create a new will from scratch. It’s a mistake to think that simply adding a signed note in the margins will suffice.
4. Address potential controversies
While some wills are relatively straightforward, others will come as more of a surprise. Let’s say you wish to disinherit someone close to you – a partner or child, for instance. This can come as a real blow if left to come out on its own and lead some to contest the will and accuse other family members of coercing or misleading the testator into the decision.
Addressing these issues, however painful that conversation may be, is the best course of action. If you don’t feel capable of bringing them to light yourself, you may want to rethink your decision before it’s too late.
5. Remember digital assets
It’s easy to forget digital assets like cryptocurrencies and online accounts since they’re a relatively new addition to consider. Don’t let these valuable assets slip under the radar.
6. Don’t overlook sentimental items
The same goes for items that aren’t necessarily valuable in a financial sense but mean a lot to you – and to the person who will inherit them.
7. Never DIY your will
This one goes hand-in-hand with working alongside a solicitor. DIY wills are infamous for causing disputes and being ruled invalid by the court, so save your time and money.