Why should you create and leave a valid and up-to-date Will?
In addition to the often-overlooked reason of making the estate administration process as clear and straightforward as possible, the most cited reason is to ensure the deceased’s estate is passed down to loved ones with little disruption.
If a valid and up-to-date Will has been left, there is a clear outline of how the estate will be distributed, identifying beneficiaries and exactly what they will be inheriting from the estate. A Will also names the individual(s) who are legally responsible for administering the estate, known as the Executor(s).
When someone dies without a Will, their estate must be distributed following the rules of intestacy. There is an assumption that the deceased’s closest loved ones will automatically be entitled and inherit even if they die without a Will, however, this is not always the case. When faced with an intestacy, the process of estate administration is undoubtedly more complex and the next of kin can apply to be the Administrator. The Administrator, similarly to the Executor, takes the legal and financial responsibility to distribute the estate accurately and will be held accountable for any mistakes.
Genealogical research is often required upon an intestate estate, to ensure the correct people inherit under the rules of intestacy. Even if the family believe they have accurate knowledge of the family tree, it should be professionally verified. If it is not clear who should inherit, then a reconstruction of the family tree may be required. This can be a long process which can delay the estate administration process considerably. Once the family tree has been verified, there may be further delays searching for the entitled beneficiaries and tracking down all of the deceased’s assets.
23 February 2021
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