Real Life Horror Stories: Who Are Your "Children"?
In my previous article, I delved into the horror stories that can arise within the Wills and probate world. Today, I have an intriguing tale that highlights the importance of having your Will prepared properly.
We were recently approached by a grieving woman who needed assistance with her late husband's probate. Understandably, she was already going through a difficult time.
The woman and her husband had three children together - two daughters and a son. However, just before his passing, the husband dropped a bombshell revelation. He confessed that he had two additional children from a previous relationship when he was much younger. Surprisingly, his wife had no knowledge of these "secret" children.
Prior to his death, the husband had visited a Will writer who drafted what can only be described as a "basic Will." (I will soon be writing an article about why "basic Wills" are insufficient, and this case serves as a prime example!)
Regrettably, the Will was not drafted with precision.
Some sections of the Will specifically mentioned assets A, B, and C, which were to be transferred to his three children by his wife, who were all named. However, there were other parts of the Will that simply referred to assets X, Y, and Z being transferred to his "children."
Now, here's the catch - the term "children" encompasses all five of his children, not just the three he had with his wife...
Regardless of personal opinions on the matter, the fact remains that the husband's true wishes were not clearly outlined in his Will. Those close to him did not believe that the second part of the Will was intended to include all five children, but rather only the three he shared with his wife.
This case demonstrates how a single word can completely alter the contents and purpose of a Will.
The Will currently stands as it is, and unfortunately, no one can ask the husband what he truly means, even if those around him are convinced they know his intentions.
It is crucial to have your Will drafted properly and with consideration. Cutting corners is not advisable.
It's quite baffling, really.
Remember, you get what you pay for.
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The information provided in this article is not intended to constitute professional advice and you should take full and comprehensive legal, accountancy or financial advice as appropriate on your individual circumstances by a fully qualified Solicitor, Accountant or Financial Advisor/Mortgage Broker before you embark on any course of action.