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Family Law Blog

Comment on divorce & family law 

Video wills - helping families see life after death

Sixty-three per cent of people are in favour of making video wills, according to research from a group of charities which wants to encourage more open discussion about what happens to a person’s assets after they have passed away.

Wills are still a hush-hush subject. Many people still don’t put pen to paper and it causes endless problems, sometimes even causing family break-ups, so anything which can encourage people to sort out their legacy is something I would welcome. We encourage all people going through a divorce or even separation to see a specialist wills lawyer and make a new Will, or maybe even their first!

Certainly nobody living together (but not married) should ever do so without a Will--who is their next of kin? Hard to say here but it won't be their cohabitee for sure.

Of course, it’s not a legally binding “document”. For that, the will needs to be in writing, witnessed and countersigned etc, in the same way that it was 200 years ago (who says the legal sector is behind the times?!). But it is a way of communicating what you want to happen and getting people to talk about an estate. In effect, it brings a will to life.

Often, when we advise on a divorce, one of the things we mention that comes as a surprise to many people is to review/rewrite – or for many write for the first time – a will which explains how they want their estate divided. It is something easily forgotten among the melee of a divorce but can lead to all sorts of problems down the line.

It is perhaps even more important for couples who separate but don’t get divorced, as under current law next of kin would be the spouse.

So opening a debate on the subject, on camera or otherwise, is a good way of helping more people head off family feuding in the future.

Andrew Woolley
Family lawyer


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