MacNairs + Wilson

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Rise in Legal Challenges to Wills

The number of Wills challenged in the courts reached an eight year high last year, with more than 170 cases making it to the High Court in England & Wales. And the trend doesn’t seem to be slowing, with a number of high-profile cases, such as Heather Ilott’s challenge to her mother’s Will, continuing to make significant waves in the mainstream media. Understandably, this had led a lot of people to wonder how to minise the risk of their Will being challenged when they die.

The creation of a Will is vital to ensure that our wishes are communicated and carried out by those we leave behind. However, family fallouts or a failure to discuss our intentions ahead of time can mean that the terms of our Will might be unnecessarily scrutinised when we’re no longer here. While it’s impossible to completely protect against the risk of a Will being contested, there are ways to minimise the chances of a dispute over the terms of a Will coming before the courts. Here we take a look at some of the more simple steps you can take to protect your final wishes.

Protecting Your Will Against Challenge: Simple Steps

The first safeguard for protecting against a Will being contested is to make sure it’s properly drafted. This may seem obvious but mistakes are often made that can lead to complex legal problems. A Will not only needs to meet specific legal requirements for it to be valid, it also needs to be as comprehensive as possible, taking into account all our property, the possible circumstances surrounding the distribution of the estate and the legal rules that could result in the terms of a Will being overturned, such as the legal rights of dependants and spouses.

Legal supervision is invaluable for making sure all these requirements are met and your Will will have the effect you intend. Ensuring that your will is reviewed and drafted by a solicitor is the best way to ensure that your Will is not only legally valid but also addresses as many of the possible scenarios or circumstances that could leave your Will open to challenge.

The second safeguard for protecting against a Will being challenged is to include notes at the reading of a will to verify your wishes and explaining how each decision was made. This in turn can make controversial decisions difficult to challenge, provided those decisions aren’t contrary to the law. When using a solicitor, they will be able to give you the best advice to ensure that your Will is legally valid and your wishes clearly communicated.

Another common reason for Wills being challenged is the age of people when they create a Will. Many people wait until later in life to create a Will. However, this in turn can lead to claims that those creating the will were not capable of doing so, especially if there has been an omission of a family member or a controversial inclusion. However, if you are older when making a Will, a solicitor will ensure that you’re of sound mind and fully aware of the consequences your Will will have.

Simply discussing the terms of your Will with those you intend to inherit under it can also help minimise the risk of disputes arising between surviving beneficiaries. By talking about your Will openly, you are informing those who are likely to be affected of its content and your wishes.

Contact our Wills Solicitors in Glasgow and Paisley

If you require legal advice regarding your will or if you wish to have your will reviewed by our team of skilled solicitors, contact us today using our online contact form.

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