Who Cares Wins?

  • Posted

Posted 09/08/2009

Not always. There was a report in a local paper recently about a successful challenge to the Will of an elderly lady who had come under the influence of her carer and had left her entire estate to the carer’s son. This raises two important issues.

The first is establishing that someone has mental capacity and is not under duress when they make a new Will. If you make a Will with a solicitor who sees you face to face then they will need to satisfy themselves that what you are putting in your Will is actually your own wishes not someone else’s which have been forced upon you. So, if you genuinely want to make a Will leaving items to people who may not be your ‘obvious’ beneficiaries, you should definitely do it by instructing a solicitor on a face to face basis rather than trying to draw up your Will yourself at home. This way it is less likely to be successfully challenged after your death.

The second is that, as a result of inadequate estate planning and/or poorly drafted Wills, we are seeing a rise in the number of people who are seeking to challenge the provisions of a Will, and we have solicitors who can help in these circumstances. More often than not the issues arise not with an external third party but with family members where there have been second or third marriages and children or step-children from each. If you have complex family circumstances then proper advice and planning is essential at the time you make a Will.

For advice on making a Will whose contents you think could potentially cause problems after your death, please contact Mary Ambrose in our Cambridge office, Simon Crooks in Bury St Edmunds or Robert Chalmers in Norwich. For advice on challenging a Will contact Huw Wallis in our Cambridge office.


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