THE fictional case of Jarndyce v Jarndyce from Charles Dicken’s novel is a satirical response to the law courts of the day.

It espouses the need to be clear in your will to avoid expensive litigation.

This still rings true today.

It can be difficult for bereaved relatives to objectively discuss mediation in an estate after such an emotionally charged event as death.

16th November is the International Day for Tolerance.

In the context of estates, it is advisable to both consider and manage family rifts and any potential claims against your estate before you die and ideally whilst you are making a will.

Perhaps you are concerned about a ‘black sheep’ in the family.

You may wish to provide for the individual but avoid the family fortune being squandered, or you may decide to completely write them out of the will.

Disappointed relatives can make a claim against your estate if they feel they should have received more.

If one sibling receives a bigger bite of the cherry, bitter feelings can last a lifetime and destroy relationships.

It is not always possible to completely avoid family disputes and you may have a good reason for leaving a family member a larger share of your estate. Best practice is to follow some simple guidelines:

• Never make a will in anger: A will can become a public document and any inflammatory comments will be immortalised. Although it can be tempting to have the last word, your will is not the place for it.

• Leave an explanation of your legacy choices: A letter of wishes can set the record straight.

• Consider a trust in your will: If you are concerned about money being spent unwisely, you can leave some or all your estate in a discretionary trust. Your trustees have the power to choose from your preferred pool of beneficiaries and have the discretion to make payments when and to an amount they deem appropriate.

• Appoint a solicitor to assist you in your will: Your circumstances are unique and personal to you; it is only right that your will is too.

Having a will professionally written enables you to discuss and properly manage potentially difficult situations.

For more information and legal advice CLICK HERE or contact the author, Lindsay Taylor, Solicitor – Wills, Trusts and Probate, at law firm Coffin Mew on 023 8057 4304 or via