Sibling feud highlights importance of making a Will

18th April 2016

Sibling feud highlights importance of making a Will

We may not know which day will be our last but we can make life much easier for those we leave behind.

Planning for the ultimate eventuality by writing a Will ensures your assets and estate go to the people you choose – but failing to do so can leave your loved ones significantly under-prepared for the impact of your death.

In one recent case, a lack of a Will consigned two siblings to a decade-long struggle over their elderly father’s estate, causing unnecessary misery and wasting tens of thousands of pounds.

When the 84-year-old died suddenly in 2005 from a stroke without making a will, his son and daughter argued over who should receive what of his £550,000 estate.

His son claimed that his father had promised him that he would be the sole beneficiary and that he would sign a will to that effect before his death.

The son argued that, in reliance on his father’s word, he had devoted his life to working in the family business, caring for his parents and improving their home, in which he still lived.

His sister, however, pointed out that her brother had received lifetime gifts from their father worth £470,000 and accused him of being greedy.

The High Court found that the son had not been given an assurance that he would inherit the whole of his father’s estate. He was, however, entitled to 20% of the equity in the family home to reflect the money and effort he had put into constructing a self-contained flat within it. He would have to share the remainder of the estate equally with his sister.

However, inheritance tax and the costs of the prolonged proceedings and the administration of the estate meant that the son would have to move out of the family home so that it could be sold – a fate which was completely unavoidable had his father written a will.

How can Gotelee Solicitors help?

Our team of lawyers, operating from offices in Ipswich, Hadleigh, Felixstowe, Woodbridge and Melton can guide you through the process of making a will, to ensure all of your wishes are carried out.

By making a will sooner rather than later, you will give yourself and your loved ones peace of mind.

To find out how we can help, call our Private Client team on 01473 298112 or email [email protected].

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