The importance of creating a valid Will has been a popular topic of conversation recently. After details of George Michael’s Will came to light, some popular TV and radio shows including Loose Women, This Morning and The Chris Evans Breakfast Show, took the opportunity to discuss the topic.
According to news reports, George Michael reportedly left most of his assets to his two sisters. He also left his father a horse racing stud farm, ‘The Mill Charitable Trust’ artwork and antiques, and his closest friends who he named as beneficiaries the remaining share of his estate.
However, George Michael did not leave anything to his partner, Fadi Fawaz, which raised concerns about whether he will contest the Will on the grounds of unreasonable financial provision. Fadi Fawaz was reportedly living in a London home owned by George Michael and there are rumours that he is planning on disputing the Will.
Under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975, relatives and dependents can “apply to the court for an order under section 2 of this Act on the ground that the disposition of the deceased’s estate effected by his will or the law relating to intestacy, or the combination of his will and that law, is not such as to make reasonable financial provision for the applicant.” This Act means that it is not always enough to simply create a Will.
Additionally, research from Direct Line Life Insurance revealed that 12.6 million adults in the UK would be willing to dispute a Will if they disagreed with the division of their loved one’s estate. Based on the latest ONS population estimates, 12.6 million British adults equates to approximately 19% of the UK population, highlighting how a substantial proportion of people would object to wishes left in a Will.
While the topic of Wills is in the spotlight, you may be faced with more questions from your clients. Be prepared to answer questions around “What can be done to reduce disputes over inheritance?”. In order to help you answer any queries, we’ve outlined some steps that can be taken to reduce the risk of inheritance disputes:
1. Consider family dynamics
Many Will writers will take into account the family dynamics before advising and creating Wills for their clients. If you’re a Will writer who considers the implications of the testator’s wishes, inform your clients that all eventualities have been taken into account. A Will that has considered the make-up of the family and all eventualities is less likely to be contested and the estate is more likely to be protected.
2. Advise your clients to discuss their Will with loved ones
If you advise your clients to share details of the Will with their families in advance, the loved ones are aware of how the estate will be distributed in advance. This not only means that there is complete transparency but also eliminates the element of surprise. If loved ones understand why the testator has chosen to distribute their estate in a certain way, it can give them the opportunity to come to terms with the wishes in the Will before the death.
Kings Court Trust are one of the UK’s leading estate administration providers and like you, they place their clients at the very heart of everything they do. They can remove the stress, effort and liability of dealing with the legal and tax affairs of someone who has died. If you’d like to find out more about building a mutually beneficial partnership with Kings Court Trust to provide your clients with support when it comes to estate administration, call us on 0333 207 5470.