When It Comes To Contested Probate, You Can’t Argue With The Facts…
Are you really doing ALL you can to avoid becoming a statistic?
There is no denying that our society is becoming increasingly litigious, with a considerable increase in claims being made against estates and challenging the circumstances in which a Will is instructed, drafted and executed.
To have an accurate picture of how bad it’s getting, we need to recognise that the true number of claims is considerably higher than those shown above, as official statistics do not take into consideration those disputes which are settled outside of High Court.
The threat of such claims is growing and the pressure is on for firms to minimise risk, compile and retain better records than ever. It won’t be long until Professional Indemnity Insurers will be placing firms under increased scrutiny to ensure their practices are robust enough to reduce such claims. We all endeavour to do the very best, but we firmly believe there is even more we can do to reduce risk to both the client and our own businesses.
Our legal document drafting software, Countrywide Legacy, manages the entire process from start to finish and produces all client care documentation at the click of a button. Seamlessly guiding the user through, our software asks all the necessary questions during the instruction taking process to ensure the client’s surrounding circumstances and reasons behind the decision-making are fully documented, and includes a robust set of questions to be answered on testamentary capacity.
This means you retain a comprehensive record of all crucial facts through every stage of the process automatically, saving time and reducing risk at every turn.
Introducing The Bespoke Risk Reduction Trilogy
Countrywide Legacy has developed a ‘risk reduction trilogy’ of statements which can all be produced at the touch of a button and are completely bespoke to your clients. This saves firms an inordinate amount of time whilst providing maximum protection for both you and your client.
1. The Client Disclaimer, drafted at the touch of a button
After the instructions have been taken, automatically produce a document specific to your client, summarising:
- A list of the legal products and/or services ordered
- All client care documentation that has been supplied, detailing the client’s method of confirmation whether via email, electronically in the meeting, or hard copies
- Where the client has elected to not follow “best advice”, the Disclaimer intelligently identifies areas of concern (e.g. tax implications or not ordering storage), indemnifying you against future claims
- A list of attendees at the meeting
- A list of individuals and companies which the client consents having access to copies of the legal documents
- Any additional comments, or illustrations which may be of concern to your clients
The Client Disclaimer ensures full transparency with your client, saving you time compiling lengthy covering letters.
2. The Will Clarity Statement, drafted at the touch of a button
When drafting the Will, automatically produce a bespoke Will Clarity Statement which accurately confirms and records:
- Details of the initial contact made
- The client’s understanding of the revocation of earlier Wills
- Exactly HOW, WHEN and WHERE the instructions were taken
- Risk assessments including confirmation of testamentary capacity and no undue influence from any third parties
- Clarity of intend to confirm knowledge and approval
- Describes in detail the client’s wishes and surrounding circumstances behind their decision-making process when writing a Will.
This statement is electronically signed by the client at the meeting or via a website. If you were called to court, wouldn’t you prefer to have all of the above compiled in a professional and comprehensive report ready and waiting, which has also been signed by the client? Surely there isn’t stronger evidence than one where the deceased client themselves have acknowledged and approved.
3. The Statement of Execution, drafted at the touch of a button
After the Will is executed, automatically produce a bespoke Statement of Execution which confirms:
- The arrangements and circumstances in which the Will was prepared and executed
- Who was present and the attesting witnesses
- That there is still no change in mental capacity after the initial 14 question assessment at outset
- That the Will executed represents the true last wishes and instructions of the client
The Execution Statement is then signed by the client, and is stored alongside the Will itself.
It’s time to make a decision…
Do you want to carry on as before? Or change the way you work for the better?
It’s time to utilise the power of Countrywide Legacy. Contact us now to request a Free Trial!
T:01926 514 392
This article was submitted to be published by Countrywide Tax and Trust Corporation Ltd as part of their advertising agreement with Today’s Wills and Probate. The views expressed in this article are those of the submitter and not those of Today’s Wills and Probate.