Why ‘Death Bed Wills’ Are Best Avoided

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Traditionally people used to wait until they were on their death bed, or at least close to death, to set their affairs in order and make a Will. Sadly, and much to the distress of those left behind, even now people sometimes delay in considering what will happen to their property and finances until they are receiving end of life treatment.

When a person is unwell the last thing they want to do is think about or discuss their financial affairs. It can be difficult for them to concentrate or sometimes even stay awake long enough to convey their wishes and receive advice. The last thing they need at this difficult time is the stress of approving and signing paperwork but this stress can be unavoidable if a Will is not already in place.

A persons family members or friends, who may only have their loved ones best interests at heart, can be unfairly labelled as uncaring or money orientated for insisting that a Will is put in place at this time, even when they are not even beneficiaries!

Even if you can struggle through giving your instructions and signing a Will (yourself) at this very difficult time it doesn’t mean that your estate is safe from litigation. As a nation we have become increasingly litigious and more people now contest Wills, particularly on grounds of mental capacity. A challenge to a Will can sometimes carry more weight if that Will was made shortly before a person’s death when their health was very bad.

It is important to make a Will and consider your financial affairs when you are in good health. Not only does it provide peace of mind to the person making the Will but it can also reduce stress for friends and family and ensure your wishes are followed and that your Will is less likely to be contested after your death.

You should make a Will when:

  • When you can clearly convey your instructions.
  • When you can carefully consider legal advice.
  • When you are not under time pressures.
  • When you aren’t concerned about what other people may think.
  • When you are in the right frame of mind.

Don’t wait until you’re unwell to make a Will or worse, not make a Will at all and leave it to chance on the assumption that those left behind can or will deal with your estate in the way you would want.

Grief can be devastating and debilitating. It is incredibly hard to lose a loved one, let alone administer their estate, so giving consideration to later life planning now can save heartache for those left behind in the future.

For further information or advice on making a Will and later life planning contact our specialist Private Client team.


The information contained in this article is for general guidance only and is not intended to be legal advice. Professional advice should always be taken on the application of the law in any particular situation.