You may have read about the ongoing issues regarding the estate of the late US music superstar, Prince. It appears that he did not leave a will, a fact that is already causing problems. It appears that nobody knows for certain if he made a will or not, which with a multi-million dollar estate to be dealt with, is far from ideal.
Do I have to register a will?
Although the law in Minnesota is different from that in England and Wales, the problems that are caused are exactly the same. In England and Wales, when you make a will you don’t have to register it anywhere.
There is therefore no central record of who has and who hasn’t made a will. In theory you could write out a will on a scrap of paper, get two complete strangers to witness it and then shove it in the bottom of a draw without telling anybody about it and you could have a valid will (I stress that I am not advising anybody to do that!).
What happens when somebody dies and nobody knows if they had a will?
Instantly there is a problem and enquiries must be made to try to locate a will – there is no easy way to find out.
Many estates are significantly delayed and unnecessary costs are incurred as the family try to contact every solicitor in the area to see if they hold a will.
This can often lead to disputed estates, particularly when a member of the family believes that there was a will as “old Aunt Nellie had told me I was going to get her diamond ring when she’s gone”.
Avoid a dispute
These problems can easily be avoided by:
- simply making a will;
- informing your family that you have made a will;
- telling them where it is stored – Levi Solicitors will store any will we have drafted free of charge in our specially built strong room to ensure that it is kept safe, however we do not get notified upon every death
This will create certainty for all involved and reduce the risk of delays, unnecessary costs and disputes.
3 benefits of making a will
Making a professionally made will is relatively inexpensive and most people find it much easier than they expected.
- You get to choose how your estate will be distributed. This is the most obvious reason and why most of our clients come to see us. If you don’t have a will then your estate will be distributed according to the rules of intestacy. This may not be how you want your property to be distributed.
- You can choose who will administer your estate. Your executors (read our executors blog article here) are the ones who will gather in and distribute your assets so ideally you would pick trusted relatives or friends;
- You can help to minimise any family disputes, e.g. over your beloved jukebox or Aunt Nellies diamond ring. If you have a will leaving specific bequests to specific beneficiaries, your family will not have to argue about what you would have wanted to happen to individual items.
Tell me more!
For more advantages in having a will professionally drafted, read ’10 Reasons to make a Will’ !
If you want to discuss making a will and how it can benefit you, please call our specialist wills and probate solicitors on 0800 988 7756.