Probate & Wills
Many people feel that making a Will is somehow "tempting fate" and that there is plenty of time. However, It is a sad fact that seven out of ten people in the UK die without a Will, yet making a Will is relatively straightforward and not very expensive. When a person dies without a proper Will, delays, hardship and worry - and even costly legal bills can result if there is confusion and disagreement among those left behind. If you should die without a Will or if your Will is deemed to be invalid, that is if it wasn't completed or signed correctly, then you are said to have died intestate. It is not sufficient to think that you have told your relatives how you want your estate divided and, unfortunately, there have been many family feuds caused by the lack of a proper Will. Don't delay, if you haven't made a Will, even if you think you have very little to leave.
When someone dies it is normally the task of relatives or friends of the deceased to "administer" the estate, that is the money, property and possessions left and by collecting in all the money, paying any debts and distributing the estate to those people entitled to it. The term probate often means the issuing of a legal document to one or more people authorising them to do this. The probate registry issues the document, which is called a grant of representation. It may not be necessary to obtain a grant, for example where a home is held in joint names or where a joint bank or building society account is held, production of a death certificate may be sufficient for the monies to be transferred to the joint holder. It is imperative to take advice, as there may be Inheritance Tax due that must be paid.
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Family disputes could be on the rise after it was revealed a third of over 50s may have out of date wills.
According to research from Saga Legal Solutions, 34% of people have experienced a change in their financial or family circumstances since last updating their will, with one in five becoming grandparents and one in ten moving house. Read more
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