Have you made a will? If the answer is no, then you’re not alone. In fact, you’re in the majority. According to statistics, 60% of people in the UK don’t have a will, and of those that do, only 29% consider it up to date with their current wishes.
So, what’s holding people back from making or updating their will?
Aside from the understandably daunting task of facing up to your mortality, recent research also suggests it could have something to do with more practical concerns. 24% say they don’t have anything to leave behind, 20% claim it isn’t the right time, and another 18% believe they are too young.
However, as the following recent legal case shows, a missing or non-existent will can cause untold problems for grieving families, and incur large legal bills to settle in court.
Face v Cunningham
When father of three adult children Donald Face passed away, it was believed his will had been lost. However, his daughter Rebecca put forward a claim in court that she had found a photocopy of his original will, made in 2017 while searching through her late father’s papers.
However, her sister and brother, Rowena and Richard, believed this was a forged document, and her father had actually died intestate (i.e. with no valid will in place). This meant that under the rules of intestacy, Donald Face’s estate would be divided equally between the three siblings.
Meanwhile, Richard also put forward a claim that he had an agreement with his father that he would be entitled to a beneficial interest in the property he currently lived in, but his father had owned. However, there was no reliable evidence to support this.
Over the course of a nine-day trial in October 2020, the judge held that the burden of proof rested on Rebecca, the claimant, to prove the will had been validly executed and witnessed and was not a forgery.
Ultimately, it was found that the 2017 will was a fabricated document, and Rebecca was ordered to pay the court costs to her two siblings. Subsequently, her father’s estate was divided up equally between the three siblings. Minus innumerable legal costs for Rebecca, of course. Not to mention a lifetime of hurt and resentment between the three siblings.
All because a simple document either hadn’t been created or hadn’t been stored properly.
Will writing made simple
Whether the 2017 will Rebecca took to court was truly a forgery or not we could never say for sure. What we can say, however, is that using a reputable will writing service, such as the one Attwells offers, means the chance for confusion, misplaced wills, and the prospect of court cases is greatly reduced.
This is particularly true when it comes to creating a complex will, the kind that would be suitable for people with various assets, properties, and business interests. In fact, for this kind of will, we offer free storage for life. And that means from the moment your will is signed and witnessed, it will be kept in a secure place in our offices until the moment it is needed.
It’s a simple process, doesn’t take long to do, and we will support you throughout. And once it’s done, you can forget about it, and enjoy the rest of your life.