Dealing with general conflict and estate planning

Yes, it is an awkward topic, but there are many modern families that do not see eye to eye. Whilst it is easier to let bygones be bygones in the land of the living, what should you do if you need to discuss your family affairs in the event of your death?

Will-related disputes are at an all-time high, despite them generally being considered as distasteful. Booming property prices are known to be the main motivator behind children and other family members to contest a will.

Whilst you may have plenty of reasons why you do not wish for your estate to pass to descendants, you will want to know that your wishes are respected. Perhaps you have become estranged from your children or there has been unresolved bad blood.

It is an awkward situation, but if there are rifts within your family and you do not want to pass your estate to them in the event of your death, then you need to make sure your wishes are laid out in your will. The clearer your wishes are stated, the harder it will be for a disappointed beneficiary to contest it.

Claimants can also contest the validity of the will, for example, that the writer was not in a fit state of mind when producing the document. The best thing to do is to ensure that your solicitor has a good paper trail to prevent such challenges from occurring. Details should include how, where and when the will was drawn up and the specific circumstances – there needs to be clear evidence as to why the will was written in the way it was.

The reality is that pursuing claims are extremely difficult for adult children, unless they live at home, or they are financially dependent on a deceased parent. In other words, if the will has a provision for “maintenance” – or what would be reasonable for any children to live on. Courts have also been slow to award claims to adult children who are generally considered to be self-sufficient, working and supporting themselves.

If you would like some further legal advice on estate planning, writing a will or any other area of inheritance, contact us today to find out more information.

Victoria Evans

Victoria Evans

Senior Associate Solicitor

Tel: +44 (0) 1483 411512

Office: Godalming Office