The last thing you want once you’re no longer around is for your Will to be contested amongst your loved ones. So, to learn how to make your Will infallible, read on…
If you want to make sure that your estate and assets are smoothly passed on to your loved ones when you die, you’re going to want to create a Will. If you die without doing so, you die intestate, which means that your estate might not be distributed exactly as you intended. This may lead to disruptive disputes amongst your friends and family, which is far from ideal.
However, simply creating a Will is not always enough. To ensure that there are no grounds for someone to contest a Will, you need to make sure that it is completely airtight and that the proper procedures were followed when it was created.
The question is, how might you do that? Well, that’s exactly what this short guide sets out to answer…
What is a Will?
In short, a Will is a legal document that sets out what will happen to your money, property and other possessions when you die. They should also set out who is responsible for making arrangements and carrying out your wishes following your death (your executor), as well as setting out who should look after any children you have under the age of 18.
You can either create a Will by yourself, or you can work with a Will writing professional, such as a solicitor, to help you figure out the finer details and make sure it’s valid. As Wills are important legal documents, they also need to be formally witnessed and signed.
Why Might a Will be Contested?
While you might have best intentions when you make a Will, disputes can still occasionally arise between your loved ones. There are a number of reasons why someone may choose to contest a Will. These include:
A Lack of Testamentary Capacity
For a person to make a Will, they must be of sound mind and understand the consequences of their decisions. Because of this, someone may contest the Will on the grounds that you did not have the mental capacity to be able to willingly make the Will in question.
A Lack of Valid Execution
For a Will to be validly executed, it needs to have been correctly signed and witnessed. This means that the testator (the person making the Will) is aware that their signature gives effect to the Will and that at least two more witnesses were present at the time.
A Lack of Knowledge of the Contents
When you make your Will, you must be fully aware of the contents contained within it. If there are any suspicious inclusions – such as a gift to the person who helped prepare the Will – this could threaten the Will’s legitimacy.
Presence of Undue Influence
It’s possible for a Will to be contested if it’s suspected that it was created with undue influence or pressure. This could be because the testator was influenced or under duress to make certain decisions.
Suspected Forgery or Fraud
A Will might be contested if it’s believed that it has been forged in some way. For example, this could include a forged signature.
Rectification or Construction
This is where a Will is deemed invalid because there has been a clerical error, or an error on the part of the person who prepared the Will.
What Happens When a Will is Contested?
If a Will is contested and is subsequently found to be invalid, then one of two options are likely to be followed.
- If you made a previous Will before your current one, then that will stand in its place.
- If you did not make a previous Will, then the rules of intestacy will apply, meaning your wishes for your estate would not be taken into consideration.
Tips for Making an Infallible Will
So, how do you make a Will which cannot be contested? These are some top tips to keep in mind:
Work with a Probate Solicitor
Before you even start to think about what your Will is going to look like, you should seek out the help of an expert probate solicitor. They can work with you to compile a full list of your assets and ensure the fine print is watertight. Not only this, but you can also appoint a solicitor as a professional executor if you believe this is the best way of making sure your Will is properly followed.
Create a Clear Checklist
There is a lot to consider when you’re making a Will, meaning it’s easy to lose track of things. So, why not create a Will checklist?
You can get some inspiration online by simply searching for Will checklists, then customise them to match your circumstances. That way, nothing is likely to be forgotten and disputes are much less likely to occur.
Create a Will as Early as Possible
Many people put off making a Will until it’s too late, but the reality is that it’s never too early to make a Will. You never know what life might throw at you, so if you make a Will as early as possible then you’ll have more time to clearly set out what you want to happen.
Avoid Will Templates
Using a Will template might seem like a great idea in theory. It should save you plenty of time, right?
Well, while that might be true, a Will template probably won’t help you accurately account for everything you want to include in your Will. It’s much better to create a Will from scratch with the assistance of a Will-writing professional, such as a solicitor.
Are you Worried About Having Your Will Contested?
So, that’s a quick rundown of the sorts things you need to know be aware of when it comes to contested Wills. Naturally, creating a Will isn’t the most pleasant experience in the world, but creating one which you know won’t be contested will help to reduce some of the associated stress.
Have you created a Will in the past? Or maybe you’ve witnessed a dispute over a Will? Feel free to leave your stories down below, and if you’ve got any further advice or are looking for some pointers, be sure to leave a comment!