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So You're OK - You've Got A Will!

View profile for Stephen Lawson
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I am a specialist Inheritance Dispute lawyer – that means I only tend to see people when things have gone wrong – I would much rather that client’s affairs didn’t go wrong in the first place – really I am a last resort.  It’s a bit like a Firefighter.  A Firefighter would be very happy sitting at the fire station without having to attend a disastrous fire – well I’m like that.  You can think of me happily sitting in my office without inheritance disputes.

But life isn’t like that.

Let me explain.

The majority of adults make a will – but the problem is that their will is often out of date and not updated – let me give you three examples.

A very successful businessman owned his own limited company jointly with is brother.  He made a will leaving his shares in the company to his brother. They built up their successful company together.  For tax reasons the brothers changed the status of their company – they stopped trading as a limited company and instead carried on as partnership.  This meant that when one of the brothers unexpectedly died there were no shares to leave in accordance with the terms of his will – and the brother lost out – a considerable sum.

Another person who failed to update her will was a single mum.  She had two children and left her estate to them.  She had another child later in life and failed to update her will.  When she died unexpectedly her third daughter got nothing – and had to make a claim against her sisters – how sad is that?

Another successful businessman made his own homemade will.  He included a clause in his will saying that his company had to make payments of £75,000 a year to his wife – the company could afford it – but the problem is that a gift in a will relating to a company is invalid – and has no effect.  The wife lost her maintenance for life.

So the message is clear – think of me as a Fireman.  Call me if you need me – but really it’s best if you don’t need to – so call my Private Client colleagues to update your will.