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Families at war: How to avoid disputes over wills

When a loved one passes away, it is painful enough without the added upset of a family feud over a will. Sadly, family disputes over wills are not uncommon, adding to the anguish and stress of a difficult time. 

However, there are certain steps that can be taken to help prevent potential disputes:

Ensure the will is comprehensive and well-written

The importance of having proper legal advice when making a will cannot be overstated. A well-written, comprehensive and professionally-crafted will, ensures every eventuality is stated within the legal document; this can help lessen the likelihood of disputes arising. 

Appoint responsible people you can trust as your executors

It is not uncommon for the cause of a family dispute over a will to be related to who is the executor and has legal responsibility for taking care of the estate. These disputes can be avoided by naming who you would like to appoint as your executor(s) to deal with your estate when you have gone.  

Specify what you would like to happen at your funeral

Another issue that can lead to families fighting during the difficult period of a loved one passing on is disagreement about what should happen at the deceased’s funeral.

Stipulate in your will what you would like to happen at your funeral, such as whether you want to be cremated or buried.

Write detailed letters of your wishes

As well as making a will, consider preparing detailed letters of your wishes and intentions when you die. Whilst such letters are not legally-binding, having the wishes of a loved one written clearly on paper, can be a useful way to guide executors and family members in carrying out your wishes when you have passed on.

Article written and contributed by North Yorkshire Law

DISCLAIMER: This article should not be regarded as constituting legal advice in relation to particular circumstances, and is merely a general comment on the relevant topic. If specific advice is required in connection with any of the matters covered in this article, please speak to North Yorkshire Law  directly.

Published on 11th July 2018

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