How Having a Will Can Prevent Family Feuds
Financial issues are one of the most common reasons for family arguments and when stress and emotional levels are high after the death of a loved one the last thing that is needed is a dispute about money. Despite this, 59% of Britons still do not have a will, according to new research published by Macmillan Cancer Support.
The cancer charity found that around a million Britons have experienced a family argument over money after a relative has died without leaving a will. Almost one in five (17%) respondents to the study found that these feuds had led to a family break up and Dani Adams, legacy manager at Macmillan, stated that people should try to look to the future in a positive way.
The study was published to mark the recent Dying Matters Awareness Week and Macmillan wants Britons to talk more openly about their wishes for after they pass away. With financial problems so often causing family tension, drafting a will can be a positive way to start thinking about and planning for the future.
Why a will matters
The research found that around a third of the people who have promised something to a loved one after they die have not actually covered this in a will, with Macmillan calculating that this means a further five million people could be risking family arguments in the future because they have not got a will.
The Macmillan Cancer Support study found that around a third of people say the reason they have not drafted a will is just because they have not got round to it, while 20% said they do not think they need a will until they are older.
Michael Labrum, senior partner at Labrums Solicitors LLP, explains that failing to make a well thought out and valid will can cause many unforeseen problems at a time when families and friends are trying to cope with the grief of losing a loved one.
He said: "Many people assume wrongly, that a will is not really necessary and everything will get sorted out. The very fact there is no will can cause delays and expense to find out if a will was ever made. There can also be arguments about who should look after the deceased’s affairs and often there are friends or relatives who believe they were promised or should have been promised something. If you have assets, it’s important to decide what you want to happen to them. If you don't, your money and assets could be locked away with your loved ones unable to access them or go to people you would not wish to have them"
Mr Labrum also pointed out that making a will does not need to be expensive and can save a great deal of time and money later.
Mr Labrum said that as soon as you have any assets or a family you should consider making a will. It can always be updated later in life, so delaying it is unnecessary. It is not possible to tell when a will might be needed. Drafting a will earlier in life is recommended and can be a great way to provide peace of mind.
For details of the questions that you will need to consider when setting up a will, why not download our questionnaire.
Our experts Michael Labrum, Janet Drake, and Laura Labrum, with Janet also being STEP qualified and a Dementia Friend, specialise in the drafting of wills. Contact one of them on 01727 858807 and see how we can help you.