Our Wills & Probate Solicitor Kirsty John answered some of our Clients Frequently Asked Questions.
Under what circumstances would a Will be disputed?
The list is not exhaustive, but a few examples are as follows:
The Deceased did not have the necessary mental capacity to make a Will
The Will was not executed in accordance with the legal requirements for a valid Will
The Deceased did not have full knowledge and approval of the contents of the Will
Some fraud/forgery has occurred in relation to the Will
The Deceased was unduly influenced when they made the Will
The Will does not reflect the instructions given to the Deceased’s solicitor.
The Deceased did not provide for someone and that person wants to claim for reasonable financial provision from the estate
The Deceased made a promise to someone which was relied upon, to their detriment
2. How could you defend a Will to ensure the wishes are followed?
Certain individuals can bring a claim against an estate, irrespective of the provisions in a Will. These individuals are spouse/ former spouse or civil partner, a cohabitee who lived with the deceased for at least two years before they died or a child or a child treated as a child or anyone that has been maintained by the Deceased. They must show that reasonable financial provision has not been made for them.
If a person is excluded there should be detailed reasons, set out in a statement, explaining why they are being excluded or they are limited what they are inheriting. This statement will be signed and put with the Will. This will reduce the likelihood of a successful claim.
DPA Law, when preparing the Will, will take detailed attendance notes of the meeting and instructions which will provide valuable evidence of the intention of the Deceased. This evidence will again reduce the likelihood of a successful claim against the estate.
3. Why should you use a Solicitor to draft a Will rather than unregulated services or a Do It Yourself Kit?
The easy and cheap ‘do it yourself’ packs are only ever suitable in the simplest of cases, where no property is owned and there are no beneficiaries under 18 years of age. Even the slightest error or misunderstanding of the use of legal terms can cause disputes or the Will to be invalid.
Some examples of ‘do it yourself’ Wills being problematic/invalid:
The Will has not been signed and witnessed correctly
A witness is also a beneficiary
Dependants are left out of the Will, leaving it open to challenge
Amending a Will incorrectly or marking it after completion can be seen as tampering
A Will should always be updated with changes in circumstances, such as getting married, or divorced.
Have you updated your Will recently?
For Will queries get in touch 01554 749144