Inheritance Disputes – The Solution
1 in 4 people are willing to challenge against a loved one’s Will if they disagree with the distribution of the estate, a survey reveals.
(survey commissioned by Direct Line)
The readiness of family members to oppose a relative’s last wishes is reflected in official court statistics, which show Will disputes are continuously on the rise.
Partner at law firm Nockolds, Daniel Winter, has previously stated that the increased number of inheritance cases reaching the High Court is only the tip of the iceberg of family disputes which are either settled or end up in County Court.
“Modern family structures are making inheritance claims increasingly likely. People are more likely to marry multiple times or cohabit outside of marriage, and if there are children or stepchildren involved, the likelihood of someone feeling hard done by is even greater than before.
More people are relying on an inheritance to get on the property ladder or to provide for them in retirement, or to repay their mortgage. If someone is left out of a Will, or stands to inherit less than they were expecting, this can trigger a dispute.”
The most common legal reasons for contesting a Will are:
- Undue influence – where the client was forced to sign a will or unreasonable pressure was put on them.
- Lack of knowledge and approval – where the client was not aware of the contents or there were suspicious circumstances.
- Testamentary capacity – where the client wasn’t mentally competent or had the legal ability to make or alter a Will.
The reality is that a client’s Will may well be declared invalid if poor notes are kept and the Will is later challenged.
Unfortunately, a client’s Will only really describes WHAT they wish to do with their estate, and doesn’t include any of their deciding factors, circumstances surrounding the Will drafting and execution or their mental capacity, which will be questioned if a claim arises.
The solution – the WHY to the WHAT
Unique to the legal industry, Countrywide Legacy in partnership with Martin Holdsworth, Contentious Probate Lawyer and owner of IDR Law which specialises in Inheritance Dispute Resolution, has developed a Will Clarity Package within the Countrywide Legacy Software.
Our Will Clarity Software Package automatically compiles statements which fully satisfies the WHY, WHEN, WHERE, WHO and HOW when it comes to your clients Will, their wishes, the surrounding circumstances and mental capacity. This helps protect your business by reducing the risk of a successful challenge. It also ensures you are providing your clients with the best possible service, essentially giving “the deceased a voice”.
Now you can ensure that you can answer those questions at the time the Will is being prepared and executed and retain a complete record of those details for whenever they may be required.
The Will Clarity Package includes:
- A Will Clarity Statement – Our Software will populate all the relevant questions during the entire process, allowing you to compile a Will Clarity Statement, at the touch of a button. This statement outlines details such how the instructions were taken, who was present, risk assessments, mental capacity and the reasoning behind your clients’ choices. The Will Clarity Statement can be signed by the client when signing the Will, reassuring them that if the worst were to happen, this extra precaution to ensure that your clients’ wishes are clearly heard and well documented, reducing the risk of a successful claim.
- An Execution Statement – Our Software manages the entire execution process and populates the relevant questions surrounding execution, and automatically compiles an Execution Statement, reducing your risk of any doubts on its validity. The Execution Statement can be signed by your client electronically at the time of execution, wet signed or sent a secure website link to electronically sign later.
- Larke v Nugus Statement for new clients – All this information entered in the Will Clarity and Execution Statement will be held electronically on the system, ready and waiting for when or if a Larke v Nugus request arises, reducing your risk. The Larke v Nugus Statement can be generated at the touch of a button, saving you valuable time and money.
- Larke v Nugus Statement for past clients – If a Larke v Nugus request is received for one of your past clients, our Software will guide you through the process allowing you to respond to such requests quickly and efficiently. Countrywide Legacy asks the questions necessary to fully respond to the Larke V Nugus request and compiles a statement automatically, all at the touch of a button.
Why not register for our next FREE webinar?
In our next FREE webinar, we will be discussing what we can do to ensure our clients’ wishes are respected by the courts when considering these claims.
Additionally, we will go into detail about what changes we can make to guarantee our businesses are afforded the maximum possible protection when a disgruntled beneficiary looks to the Will drafter to compensate them for their perceived losses.
Register NOW to learn how doing things differently can reduce the risk to both your clients and your businesses, whilst reducing cost and improving your level of service.
Register your place NOW on our FREE webinar!
All Webinars commence at 10:00am and finish at 11:00am
Register on Friday 8th March
Register on Monday 11th March
The author of this article is Charlotte Ponder LL.B (Hons) TEP, Legal Director at Countrywide Tax & Trust Corporation Ltd
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.