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The Best Ways to Protect Your Will

A landmark case this year saw Heather Ilott awarded a third of her mother’s inheritance despite being excluded from her will. Challenging an inheritance or a will has become exceptionally common in recent years with the number of challenges reaching the High Court rising by 80% in the last year.

Last year 178 cases went to the High Court, matching a high seen in 2007, with property prices cited as one of the main reasons for challenges to wills. However, there are other factors that are responsible for challenging wills, such as family feuds or fallouts. Despite the increase in the number of challenges, there are many steps you can take to try and limit a challenge to your will.

Steps to Prevent Challenges to Wills

One of the best ways to protect your will is to enlist the help of a solicitor. Not only can a solicitor make sure that your will is drafted correctly, they can also provide evidence to any challenge. By providing a clear reason for any omission and showing reasons for exclusion, this will effectively justify your decision and make it more difficult to challenge your will. If the will is drawn up in such a way where the language was clear and precise, the courts will rarely interfere with the wishes of the deceased. Therefore it is important to speak to a solicitor and ensure that your will is clear and legally binding.

When meeting with a solicitor, you should meet on your own (or with a partner) so that you do not feel obliged to include someone in your will that you do not wish to. If you wish to exclude a family member make sure that the solicitor is given a clear reason and writes the reason down.

One of the most common challenges to a will is that when the will was created, the person was not of sound mind. While this is somewhat difficult to argue against when deceased, it is possible to take action when creating a will. By asking for a capacity report from your GP, it will prove that you are medically sound to make your own decisions and can prove that your will was indeed your wishes.

An exceptionally simple way to ensure that your will is not challenged or is less likely to be challenged is to be open and talk to beneficiaries about the will. A will can be challenged by those who are of interest to the deceased (a partner or spouse) as well as beneficiaries. However, if you are open to loved ones and those either in (or not in) the will then it can reduce the likelihood of a rash challenge or a challenge being deemed valid. Many celebrities, such as Bill Gates, have been very open about leaving the vast amount of their assets to charities, which in turn makes it difficult for those omitted to challenge the will as it is well-known that this is his wishes.

Contact Us

For more advice on creating a will or if you believe you have the right to challenge a will. Contact us today using our online enquiry form

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