The two most common reasons for Will disputes.
Any dispute involving an inheritance is upsetting. It is also likely to be time consuming and expensive. The two most common reasons for Will disputes are claims under The Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependents) Act 1975, or questions about a person’s mental capacity at the time that they signed their Will.
A claim under The Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependents) Act 1975 covers people who were financially dependent on the deceased and who feel that they were not made financial provision for in the Will. A claimant could include a spouse, a child or any person who was maintained wholly or partly by the deceased immediately before their death.
2. Lack of Testamentary Capacity
In order to give Will instructions and to make a Will, a person must have testamentary capacity. This is the legal term used to describe a person’s legal and mental ability to make or alter a Will. If a person making a Will lacks testamentary capacity at the time that the Will is signed, the Will is invalid.
A case, such as that last year involving the Will of the singer, George Michael, can involve disputes about both financial provision and testamentary capacity. Michael left most of his estate to his sisters. His former partner claimed that he had been promised a monthly support. The former partner also expressed concerns about Michael’s testamentary capacity. Following a Court battle, Michael’s estate agreed to an undisclosed settlement. This was five years after Michael’s death.
Although you may consider that George Michael’s circumstances were exceptional, the issues raised by the case have wider significance. Family structures are often complicated. There may be second or third marriages, children and step-children. There may already be bad feeling arising from a divorce or other family issues. In addition, a person making the Will may be elderly, or they may already suffer from poor health.
Decisions in recent cases points strongly towards Wills being found valid where the Will has been prepared by a solicitor and that solicitor has followed the appropriate processes.
Our Will making team has years of experience. They can discuss your circumstances and your wishes. They can advise you about protection again potential claims and the options available. This is to ensure that your wishes are carried out and to give you piece of mind.
If you wish to make a Will or to discuss the above, please speak with one of our friendly Life Planning Team on 01904 624903 who will be able to help.