Duncan Lewis

Romford Office

Crime and Civil cases

house 40 staff

Drawing a will saves a lot of trouble

Date: (11 June 2013)    |    

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Intestate estates where no relations can be found also known as bona vacantia or ownerless goods pass to the Treasury under the laws dating back to the ‘Middle Ages’.

It is the government which gets theses estates when you die. If the death occurs inside the boundaries of either the Duchy of Lancaster or Cornwall then the money goes to the Royal Crown.
When an estate is intestate, there are set rules on how it is divided up among surviving relations, if there are any. This means if you die without a will and have no close family, your assets could be passed to distant relations you've never even met. If no relations are found, the estate is bona vacantia.
Such problems could easily be avoided by writing a will which allows you to apportion assets as per your will.
Yet a recent survey from AA Legal Services found that nearly half of Britons have not made a will, with 56pc giving the excuse of "not getting around to it".
Writing a will becomes all the more important if you cohabit outside marriage or a civil partnership because if you die intestate your bereaved partner may not get any share in the estate and it could go to relatives.
Increasingly complicated families created by second marriages or new relationships mean writing a will is essential. But it has to be written right as a wrongly worded will can cause more trouble than it's worth – and result in a big legal bill to your estate for putting it right.
In case of illegitimate children things become particularly difficult as an illegitimate child is not known to the rest of the family. But when the father dies writing a will simply stating that all is left to his children that it means the secret offspring also has a claim. Only the offspring has to prove parenthood.
A proper will would be drawn in the name of those who are to inherit rather than be so general meaning the parent can be specific in what he wants to give to his children or who is to inherit.
In case some children were named and others left in the will it becomes a very bitter battle.
Another probate dispute arises due to second marriages. Often when a man remarries he writes his will in such a way that his new wife can remain in the family home as long as she lives but when she dies, the property goes to his children from previous marriages. However, the wife may find that she is stuck in a huge house with insufficient income to support herself and no way of releasing any cash.
Due to present economic conditions most wills are likely to be contested for example if a will leaves everything to charity then families contest the will and charities too fight for even they are facing the recession effects.