It never ceases to amaze me how people work their whole lives and build wealth yet fail to protect what happens to that wealth when they pass away. The most painful aspect is that often, the legal costs associated with any dispute over a will are ordered against the Estate. This means, the wealth that has accumulated will go to the lawyers, not your intended loved ones.
Estate planning can also save your Estate from paying large amounts of tax. Anyone without a will, regardless of their wealth, should visit a solicitor and have their formal wises for death drawn up into a will.
You have to be in possession of your faculties to make a valid will and that is one reason why you should not delay in asking a solicitor to help you put your affairs in order. In one case, a man’s execution of his will less than two months before his death from cancer gave rise to a High Court dispute between his relatives.
By his will, the man gave his widow the right to live in the matrimonial home free of rent for so long as she wished or until she began to cohabit. However, he appointed a daughter from a previous marriage as executor of his will and bequeathed to her the remainder of his estate save for a few keepsakes.
In challenging the will, the widow pointed out that, due to his illness, he was taking a number of powerful pain-relieving and other drugs when he signed the will. He was said to have exhibited confused and irrational behaviour and to have made unwarranted accusations of domestic abuse against her.
After hearing lay and expert evidence, however, the Court found that the man had the legal capacity required to make a valid will and had known and approved of its contents. Although he was likely to have suffered from opiate toxicity, that had not poisoned his affections or robbed him of the ability to discern right from wrong. However ill-founded his antagonism to his wife may have been, he was not precluded from arriving at a rational, fair and just testament.