Wills we ever get there – the importance of drafting correctly
When reading the newspaper each morning on my commute to work it is not uncommon to find an article with a dispute over the inheritance of an estate or an issue with a will. This is somewhat surprising considering the efforts of several campaigns such as ‘Will aid’ month and ‘Choice not chance’ encouraging members of the public to be aware of the benefits of having a will and the consequences without one and after looking at the statistics, it is clear that the message is not being received.
In terms of the law, it is my understanding there is a lack of control surrounding wills as it is not legally regulated. This unfortunately commercialises the service of providing a will, which means anyone from online will writers to banks to commercial retailers are able to offer this service. However, this will likely see a reduction in the advice and quality when writing a will and subsequently cause disputes over estate management.
A possibility in rectifying this situation is to use a Deed of Variation however use of this to amend weakly drafted wills could be put on hold as use of this deed to carry out such a task is under legal consultation.
Another key point to remember and a further reason to seek professional legal advice rather than your local high street retailer is due to changes in legislation. Recent changes in succession law and inheritance tax are expected. A legal professional will remain up-to-date with these changes and counsel accordingly, so it is vital to seek the correct advice.
In light of the above problems I am hopeful for the future. Due to the number of disputes over wills and inheritance it will surely only be a matter of time before this area of law is regulated as a reserved legal activity. Another method of tackling the above issues is guidance. There have been several schemes and practice codes that will hopefully standardise and control will writing to an extent. From working in real estate I am aware of the importance of ensuring your clients’ estates are well looked after so we also need to take on responsibility to ensure we consider all possibilities of our clients’ needs. It may seem like an uphill battle currently, however I believe this area of law hold exciting changes in the future.