A small percentage of Wills are challenged by people who believe that if they are successful they will inherit more. They challenge the deceased’s Will on the basis of:
poor drafting of the Will resulting in the executor’s interpreting the wording of the Will differently to their understanding;
lack of provision for them - specifically if they were financially dependant upon the deceased and little of no provision has been made for them;
a previous promise i.e proprietary estoppel;
undue influence, force, or fear made on the testator at the time of making their Will (e.g. a child arm-twisting their parent to give them everything);
lack of mental capacity of the testator. (Professional Will-writers take steps to protect the Will from such challenges);
lack of knowledge and approval of the testator (i.e. the testator did not know they were making a Will when they signed the document);
technical issues (e.g. the signing, or wording of the Will); or
Any Will that is challenged by a potential beneficiary is a ‘contentious’ Will.
A contentious Will is resolved by involving solicitors and the Law Courts. Unfortunately the costs often escalate quickly, with the common outcome of the solicitors gaining far more from the deceased’s estate by virtue of the fees that they charge; the estate is diminished pro rata and frequently the beneficiaries receive significantly less.
How can I reduce the risk of making a ‘contentious’ Will?
The simplest way to avoid making a ‘contentious’ Will is to use the services of a professional will-writer – such as ourselves.
The professional adviser will guide you through the minefield of the ‘Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependents) Act 1975. They will use the correct wording to describe your gifts, and give the necessary administrative powers to your executors and trustees to undertake the task. They will also produce additional documentation to support your Will that will help defend your Will against any challenge.