Use Make a Will Month to avoid family disputes later

AS the number of contested wills and probate cases increases dramatically, law firm Mills & Reeve is urging everyone to take advantage of Make a Will Month.

The company believes that increased wealth, complex family arrangements and extended lifespans have all contributed to a 1,250 per cent increase in the number of contested wills and probate cases over the last six years.

Julia Rangecroft, a Leeds-based tax and trusts partner at Mills & Reeve, said: “Disputes frequently arise where a will has been poorly drafted or is ambiguous, or simply fails to achieve what the will writer – the testator – wants.

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“With 32 per cent of people planning to make a will opting to research on the internet rather than visit a qualified solicitor, this could cause real problems into the future.”

Among the most common causes for disputes are couples living together who are neither married nor in a civil partnership, who wrongly believe they will inherit each other’s estates without having to make a will.

There are more unmarried couples living together with children in Hull than anywhere else in the UK, while Yorkshire and Humberside has a higher percentage of couples cohabiting without children than any other region in the north.

Ms Rangecroft added: “November is national Make a Will Month.

“To avoid undue upset and stress, we are taking this timely opportunity to urge every adult in the UK to consult a qualified solicitor to begin drafting their will or, for those already with a will in place, to review it regularly and whenever your personal circumstances change.”