Latimer Hinks Solicitors in Darlington is warning clients about the risk of conflict surrounding wills in the aftermath of the coronavirus pandemic.
Following news of a rise in the number of Spain’s elderly population choosing to disinherit their children after a lack of contact during national lockdowns, Latimer Hinks is warning families to seek advice early to avoid the costly and damaging impact of will disputes.
Unlike in much of Spain, where parents must demonstrate cause such as abuse or neglect for disinheriting their children, England operates ‘testamentary freedom’, or the right of a person to decide how their assets are managed and divided after death.
People often do not feel comfortable discussing death and its aftermath. However, should anyone feel neglected such that they wish to reconsider their legal arrangements and potentially exclude previously named beneficiaries, they should always seek professional advice from a suitably qualified and, ideally, certified STEP (Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners) solicitor who specialises in such matters.
Daniel Williams, one of the ten STEP qualified solicitors in the private client department of Latimer Hinks, said: “The coronavirus pandemic has brought additional strain for some families, with older generations sometimes feeling estranged or distanced from their relatives. These are exceptionally difficult times for all and it is important that people seek appropriate help should they find themselves reconsidering who they wish to make provision for, especially if this concerns a clear departure from previous arrangements. Seeking appropriate advice will always be a prudent step, saving families from the emotional and financial cost and distress of potential inheritance disputes.
In the cases where a person does wish to deviate from existing arrangements and exercise their testamentary freedom, advice from professionals in their field is their best chance of ensuring their wishes are carried out.”