Research by Direct Line(see 1) suggests that over 12.6 million people (about 24%) would contest a will if they were unhappy with it – and incidences of wills being contested are growing in number.
But we can take steps to reduce the risk of that happening to our own will. A first step that may be helpful is to consider the most common grounds for contesting a will. According to the research they are:
1. Undue influence
2. Lack of knowledge and approval
3. Fraudulent Wills and forged Wills
4. Lack of valid execution
5. Testamentary capacity
6. Rectification and construction claims
7. Provision for family and dependants
Then, continuing with the research results, consider how successful might those grounds be – the most successful grounds for contesting a will are:
1. Lack of knowledge and approval
2. Testamentary capacity
3. Rectification and construction claims
4. Provision for family and dependants
5. Lack of valid execution
6. Fraudulent Wills and forged Wills
7. Undue influence
We have the right to decide how we want our assets to be distributed. We can include seemingly unusual clauses and perhaps exclude family members. But if you have any concerns about your will being contested, here are some suggestions.
• Seek specialist legal advice – and we should do so before potentially going ga-ga and questions arise about our mental capacity.
• Consider writing a Letter of Wishes spelling out the reasons for making the will and also the reasons for including any clauses that might be grounds for the will being contested.
• Discuss with family members and potential beneficiaries how and why you wish to distribute your assets in the way set out in the will in order to try and avoid the surprise and sometimes the hurt that could arise.
(1) The Direct Line article can be found at https://www.directlinegroup.co.uk/en/news/brand-news/2019/25022019.html
NB The notes on the previous page are necessarily brief and only cover some of the main points.
If you think any of the above may apply to you, we recommend that you take timely advice from an appropriate legal adviser.
Remember, we are here to help so please do not hesitate to contact us regarding your financial planning situation – Reviews are part of our added-value services for our clients.
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