October is Free Wills month, when anyone aged over 55 can have a will written or updated by their solicitor for free.
The event, which is run as a campaign by a coalition of groups including Mencap, the Royal British Legion and Glaucoma UK, aims to cut the large number of Britons who are set to die intestate, a situation that can lead to major family disputes over who is entitled to inherit what.
Will solicitors in Epsom will be very familiar with these situations, as well as the enormous benefits of people putting something in place to ensure their wishes are honoured, especially if these might conflict with the likely outcome if they die intestate, such as making donations to charities.
Not all solicitors are involved in the scheme and there are limited places, but while not everyone can manage to get their will drawn up for free, the campaign will act as a reminder of the importance of setting up a will.
Around 60 per cent of British adults do not have a will, which in some cases may be due to factors such as being young and not thinking about death, not having any dependents or simply being too busy.
Some may decide to leave it until later in life to make a will, but that can exacerbate the impact of the tragedy if someone dies unexpectedly young and there is a subsequent dispute over their estate.
A number of other legal exclusions exist in England and Wales that apply in an intestate case, but could be prevented by the drawing up of specific provisions in a will to cover such eventualities.
For instance, in the event of an intestate person dying, their spouse or civil partner can inherit from them, but not an unmarried cohabiting partner.
Also, while biological and adopted children can inherit, stepchildren can’t.