Wills aren’t always the solution!

Don’t wait – work on your relationships today

There have been many times when clients have asked me to prepare a Will because they’ve got a relationship issue. Often it relates to problems they might have with their parents or children, sometimes it’s with their siblings and even their spouse. A few times, I’ve been asked to prepare a Will to exclude someone’s partner because they were thinking about separating/divorcing, and once this ‘precaution’ was in place, they plan to walk out on their unsuspecting partner.

I appreciate that a Will is important to protect their interests and I’m often the first to stress this to anyone who asks, but is it the solution to the problems with their relationship? I suggest not. It’s a solution, but might not be the best solution.

A Will is your lasting legacy. It’s what you leave behind, and as much as it has legal meaning there’s also an emotional or social meaning attached. How you express yourself in that Will can also become important – after all, it’s also communication tool. What do you want to say?

In the ‘heat of the moment’ sometimes emotions can overcome better judgment, and if not properly challenged, could result in less than desired outcomes simply because someone thought it could be resolved through writing or changing their Will. Often the motivation for people to ask for a Will at this stage is that ‘someone told them that they could…’ and it’s advice that they’ve obtained in passing, at a social event, or through gossip. Obviously, none of that replaces professional advice.

Life is short, and the opportunity to resolve some of these issues don’t always present themselves. Not taking advantage of the opportunity can have lasting consequences, especially for anyone who is left behind – even though you won’t be around to regret once it’s too late. The bottom line is that while you’re alive you’re in the best position to resolve the issues, don’t wait until you’ve gone and rely on your Will to resolve these issues for you – your Will can do many things, but it can’t do that.