Another feature of the Cycle of Sluggishness is that once the children have finally persuaded their parents to declare the contents of their Wills, they do not follow suit and prepare their own Will.
Although these children are grown up and probably have families of their own, they seem to think that they are immune to the big D word and the laws of intestacy. Complacency spreads its tangled roots of smugness by creating fuzzy thoughts that tragic and sad though it is that parents have gone, they will receive an inheritance and their financial position will change. Of course, this is not the case for everybody, but it is for many.
Often, there is a lack of ‘thinking things through’ to a logical conclusion.
Here is an example:
Person X is a widower with two children, the eldest is Y and the youngest is Z.
Y has a child but she separated from her husband three years ago.
Z is single and lives at home with X. He has a half share in the house with X.
Z makes a Will in which he leaves his share in the house to Y, or to her child if she has already died.
If all four die in the same tragedy, X’s estate goes to the cat’s home.
This is satisfactory to X and meets his requirements, but what of Y and Z?
Y is happy knowing she receives her share in the house, or her child does if she has died; there is no change to Z because he has effectively received his share already. The tangled roots of complacency quickly grow and Y and Z sit together on the cycle of sluggishness.
The problem with Y is she has made no provision for her child. In her Will, she can appoint a guardian and ensure a trust fund is correctly set up for her child. Her Will disinherits her husband (she is separated not divorced) otherwise he inherits half of her estate and a life interest in the remaining half. The intestacy rules only allow a quarter of her estate to go to her child. The situation is exacerbated if he refuses to take parental responsibility for his child. He just takes the money and runs!
Z should make sure that he leaves his estate to whomever he wishes and not leave it the vagaries of intestacy. There is no guarantee that his nephew will receive anything, but if that is what he wants, his Will is the only place where he can be sure it will be.
This is a serious situation for Y’s child.
The cynical view is that in the above case the children have made sure they are all right, but have taken no notice of the situation in which Y’s child might unfortunately find itself.
Not all circumstances are the same as this example, but it is very worthwhile checking your own, and taking action to ensure that in the event of the big D arriving, the distribution of your estate is effective and correct.
If you unsure of your situation, contact the Saddleworth Willwriter at Hay Tarn Willwriting Services for a free consulatation. You know it makes sense.