Surely, it’s easy to make a Will?
23 July 2018 by Anastasia Packman
I’m old enough to remember “Top of the Pops” on TV and also the excitement every Sunday evening when hearing that week’s top 30 music charts being counted down on the radio. I haven’t got the top 30 records to announce but instead I thought I would do a countdown of my personal top ten mistakes in making a Will.
AT 10 – Wills that are made but do not cancel existing Wills, which means that at the very least there is confusion and at worst a catastrophic mess.
AT 9 –Wills that do not have enough Executors Generally Wills have at least one or up to four Executors but in certain cases two are always needed e.g. when leaving to beneficiaries who have to reach an age to inherit.
AT 8 –Wills that do not properly describe items given to beneficiaries. Jewellery is a frequent problem and I remember someone wanting to give a bracelet to each of their granddaughters but after death there were problems working out which of the similar bracelets were given to which granddaughter.
AT 7 –Wills that do not cover enough scenarios. An example could be a couple leaving to each other and then to their young children. Although perhaps not nice to think about, it is best to decide where assets will go if there is a joint family accident.
AT 6 –Wills which have “the wrong Executors”. Many people appoint say children who do not get along almost as a last attempt to make them work together. In practice this rarely works and can make a bad relationship even worse.
AND NOW we come to my top 5…
AT 5 –Wills that give percentages which do not add up to 100. I have seen Wills with lots of different percentage amounts which when added together may come to say 97% or even 101%.
AT 4 – are Wills which leave the identity of beneficiaries in doubt. The most famous example of this was a homemade Will leaving “everything to Mother”. This did not mean what it said as the will was made by a husband who always referred to his wife as “Mother”.
AT 3 –Wills which do not describe the will maker correctly. I have seen Wills made in a married name which fail to cover assets the married person still has a in a former name. Confusion may be caused at say Banks who may not be able to connect the two names.
AT 2 –Wills that are say typed but the person who made the Will later wrote on it either adding things or taking things away. This simply does not work.
AND FINALLY coming in at Number 1 – are Wills which are not properly witnessed. One of my most difficult conversations involved telling a sole beneficiary of a large estate that she would not be inheriting anything as her husband had witnessed the homemade Will and therefore disqualified her.
That’s it from me for now Pop Pickers – have a groovy week!
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