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Writing a Will

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Derbyshire Wills and Probate Solicitors

The last thing you want to be doing when grieving the loss of a loved one is untangling the threads of a complicated estate, or managing a dispute from a relative about the contents of a Will.

for no obligation advice on making a will.

Spencers Solicitors can help with the entire Wills and probate process, right from writing a Will that is robust enough to withstand any Will dispute to arranging the valuation and distribution of an estate’s assets.

Will and Probate Disputes

It is possible to legally challenge a Will on several grounds:

  • If the Will was signed under duress. This is difficult to prove and suspicion is often not enough on its own to warrant a legal probate challenge
  • If the testator (person signing the Will) either lacked the mental capacity to sign a legal contract, or they did not understand what they were signing
  • If insufficient provision exists for those financially dependent on the person who has died, such as children from a prior marriage who have not reached adulthood, children that have reached adulthood but were still financially dependent on the parent at the time of death or cohabiting partners who have been supported financially by the deceased
  • In recent times the Courts have allowed claims even if the Claimant was not financially dependent on the deceased at the date of their death. However, each case turns on its own merits and there is no guarantee of success
  • If the Will is fraudulent, for example, if the signature was forged or someone has impersonated the testator to professionals to have a Will drawn up to their specifications.
  • If the Will was not prepared or executed correctly

The above list is not exhaustive but it sets out the main reasons that Wills are challenged.

Spencers Solicitors can represent you if you want to challenge a Will or you are an executor of a Will that is being disputed by a beneficiary or potential beneficiary. An example of a Will claim which was successfully defended related to a challenge raised by an adult child under the 1975 Inheritance Act, which allows for adequate provision to be made for those who are financially reliable on the deceased.

In this instance, the woman, who was unemployed and in her forties, claimed against her late father’s estate for failing to make adequate provision for her in leaving his entire estate to his second wife (her step-mother). Solicitors who were acting on behalf of the estate successfully defended the challenge, arguing that there was no reason that the petitioner could not work but that the estate’s primary beneficiary, as a widowed pensioner with a small income, needed the bulk of the estate to sustain her for the rest of her expected life.

This case study shows why it is vital you have a Will that clearly expresses your wishes in a legal way. Even the closest family members can fall out over disputes relating to the estate of a loved one, which makes it so surprising that around 70% of adults in Britain do not have a Will.

Disputing a Will

Though the challenge in the above example was not upheld, it is not uncommon for Wills to be successfully challenged under the 1975 Inheritance Act, so get in touch with Spencers Solicitors for legal advice and guidance if you believe you have been unfairly treated in the dispersion of assets.

Contact Spencers Solicitors today if you need advice or answers relating to Wills and probate. You can either call us directly or fill in the enquiry form to request a call back from us.

Wills and Probate FAQ

Here are the answers to some of the most frequently asked questions we receive about Wills and probate.

Do I Need to Apply for a Grant of Probate?

A Grant of Probate is a certificate is issued in recognition that the Will is legal and valid. You don’t need to obtain Probate if the value of the estate is less than £5,000 cash. If the value of assets is greater than this, or the assets are held in the form of property, shares, pension, or business, you will need to obtain a Grant of Probate (or Letters of Administration, in the situation of intestacy) from the court.

Financial institutions can set their own limits for requiring Probate, and you need to be a nominated Executor, or acting on behalf of them, to apply for it. Without a Grant of Probate or Letters of Administration, you will not be able to administrate the estate.

How Long does Probate Take?

Probate, the act of administering an estate, typically takes six to nine months. It can take longer if the estate is complicated or if a beneficiary or potential beneficiary contests the will.

Do I need a Solicitor to write a Will?

A Will does not need to be prepared by a solicitor for it to be legally binding. However, DIY wills are often less robust and more easily challenged as people without a legal background are not always aware of the necessary requirements.

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