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Avoid a grave dispute with future planning

2/12/13

Families can be the most wonderfully supportive groups of people, and the death of a family member normally unites those bound by love and warm memories of the departed, often coming together for the first time in years.

Unfortunately, the loss of a loved one can also reveal deep divisions and hostilities that may come to the surface because of heightened emotions surrounding funeral plans which antagonise other family members.

A family friend recently died after a long battle with cancer and was laid to rest in a touching, thought-provoking ceremony held at the same beautiful church where she was first married.

Unfortunately, her brothers were upset because they believed she would have preferred to have been cremated causing a massive divide in a once close family with a second memorial being held just days later without so much as an invite to their widowed brother-in-law.

At a time when the whole family should have been rallying around supporting each other, they found themselves caught in the middle of a heated family feud unable to actually grieve the loss of their mum.

It may seem a little morbid, but there are a number of legal steps you can take to ensure that your exact wishes are carried out.

To many of us, the term "estate planning" conjures up images of extremely wealthy people paying lawyers huge amounts of money to set up complex trusts and elaborately complicated Wills, but this is not true.

Considered as one of the most important preparations one can make, a Will determines just how your most personal possessions and hard-earned savings will be shared among close family and friends once you’re gone.

Despite the massive importance of this legal document, many people are still reluctant to make a Will, which is where arguments usually start

Most people are unaware of this but a Grant of Representation is also required when a loved one dies to give one or more people the legal authority to deal with the administration of the Estate.

Probate (or Confirmation in Scotland) is the legal process of transferring money and possessions to the people who will eventually inherit them.

Generally required for any estate worth over £5,000, Probate must be carried out for the vast majority of the population. Both complex and expensive, most organisations such as banks and solicitors charge a percentage of your final Estate as well as an hourly fee for the work carried out at the time.

It is possible for family members to carry out the Probate work themselves although this is not best advised because if any mistakes are made, by family or friends, even in good faith, they can be held personally accountable for any financial loss causing further dispute.

Working with some of the UK’s leading legal firms, Golden Charter also offers a comprehensive range of legal services including Will-Writing, Asset Protection and Power of Attorney to provide you with complete peace of mind for when the inevitable occurs.