Pay Now or Pay More Later: The Cost of Not Writing a Will

Year Published: 2020

Failure to plan for death can have catastrophic consequences for a spouse or partner, both emotionally and financially, which go far beyond what the deceased may have intended to happen. The remedy for the family left with no protection due to the deceased not writing a Will, would be that they are forced to apply to the court for assistance in resolving the financial mess left behind.

This provides added emotional pressure for the family left behind.  For example where the deceased has children from a previous marriage, the deceased’s first family could become involved in litigation with the deceased’s spouse or partner, at a time when they would expect to be grieving for his death, bringing unnecessary anger and frustration. The chances are that this was not the deceased’s intentions but a direct result of a lack of estate planning.

What Might Not Writing a Will Cost?

Asserting a right to the deceased’s estate means that the spouse/partner and/or children will need to rely on the statutory provisions of The Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975. In most cases, legal advice will be required to navigate around the statutory framework of this act and the civil procedure that is used with it. Whilst most cases of this nature are settled without final hearings, the time, cost and added stress are immeasurable to those involved.

The average cost of making a basic Will is around £350 and around £1,000 when a trust is involved, which is put into stark contrast when the costs of litigation could be anywhere from £20,000 upwards. If a mediation takes place – in which the parties seek to resolve matters without a final hearing – it is also likely that the costs will be high, in comparison with making a Will. A mediator’s fee for example could be around £3,500 plus VAT alone.

Avoid Disputes after Your Death

Estate planning is essential and given the implications mentioned, worth every penny. Losing a loved one is difficult for anyone and very rarely something you are prepared for. However, you can prepare your family for what happens after you die by making a Will and seeking estate planning advice to ensure that your family are not left in the same situation. The question is: would you rather spend a little now and save your family the added emotional and financial pressure later, or save the money now and risk your family losing money, time and having to deal with the stress?

For further information on litigation issues, please contact our Dispute Resolution team on 0161 475 7676. Alternatively, if you would like guidance on writing a Will or planning for your estate, please contact our Aalia Ijaz, in our Wills & Wealth Planning team on 0161 475 1218 or email [email protected].

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