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How Can You Prevent Your Will From a Legal Challenge?

There has been a string of high-profile legal challenges involving wills and inheritances of late with many stories getting a vast amount of media exposure.

This summer the Court of Appeal overturned the will of charity donor, Melita Jackson, after she left her £500,000 estate to be distributed among animal charities, omitting her daughter, Heather Ilott from the will. However, her will was overturned with the court stating that failed to make “reasonable provision” for her daughter in her will, and awarded Mrs Ilott 164,000 from the estate.

The number of challenges to wills that made it to the UK’s highest court rose by 80% last year with 178 cases, the highest number since 2007. Experts state that the booming property prices in the UK are one of the main reasons for the rise in the number of challenges. However, there are many ways that wills can be protected and made watertight to a legal challenge.

Protecting Your Will From a Legal Challenge

One of the best ways to ensure your will is protected from any legal challenge is also one of the easiest. Many people believe that their will should be a very private matter (which in many ways is correct) however, by informing beneficiaries or people that are involved in your will of what you intend to leave them (and perhaps who is inheriting what or not) is one of the easiest ways to show your wishes and what you want to happen when you pass. Many high-profile celebrities have spoken about their wishes in interviews and informed their loved ones of what they intend to leave when they go. For example, Bill Gates and others have stated that they intend to leave the vast amount of their money to charity. As a result, it makes their will very difficult to challenge as their wishes are known to a wide number of people and their beneficiaries.

Another simple step to protect your will is by enlisting the help of a solicitor. A will can be challenged by beneficiaries but also anyone who could have an interest in your inheritance. One of the most common ways to challenge a will (especially if it involved an omission) is to state that when the will was created the person was not of sound mind. However, a solicitor can provide evidence to counteract any challenge by providing evidence to support your document. A solicitor may provide you with advice such as obtaining a capacity report from a GP to prove that you were of sound mind when creating a will. A solicitor can also provide a paper trail to support your decision and also give the court/judge notes about any omission you may have.

Contact Us

If you wish to omit someone from your will we recommend that you draft a letter of wishes to add to your file. When creating a will, our solicitors can provide you with the advice and support you need and inform you of the steps you can take to ensure that your document is difficult to challenge. Get in touch today using our online contact form.