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Will Disputes: Prevention is better than cure

17 August 2016

Will and inheritance disputes have soared year on year over the last decade and for the families involved these disputes can be time consuming, divisive and inevitably expensive. Despite the emotional impact and cost, we are seeing more cases of family disputes which surround the terms of a relative’s Will.

A Will can be disputed in a number of different ways. This includes common allegations that the Will may not have been properly executed, the person making the Will may have lacked testamentary capacity, the person making the Will may have been unduly influenced, allegations the Will may be a forgery, and the Will fails to make sufficient financial provision for a person who may have been dependant on the deceased or who may have a significant financial need in the future.

"Unfortunately, there is no clause that you can include in your Will which can ensure that there will be no challenge to it following your death.."

Unfortunately, there is no clause that you can include in your Will which can ensure that there will be no challenge to it following your death. However, there are some straightforward steps you could take to try to head off disputes among your beneficiaries and promote acceptance of your testamentary wishes.

  1. Instruct a specialist to prepare your Will
    At Barlow Robbins we take time to explore the nature of your family relationships. We advise you as to the potential dangers of benefiting or disinheriting those who may be able to challenge your Will or bring a claim against your estate. If you do not intend to make provision for someone who may expect to benefit from your estate then we will carefully document your reasons. If a dispute arises in the future it will be more difficult to prove that you may have been unduly influenced, lacked capacity or that your will does not reflect your true wishes.

  2. Keep your will under review
    Keeping your Will up to date may avoid disputes which could arise as a result of a change of family or financial circumstances during your lifetime. We recommend that our clients should review their Wills at least every 5 years.

  3. Talking to your loved ones
    It may be worth considering letting your family and those close to you know what provision (if any) you have made for them in your Will. This could help to eliminate surprises in the future and help promote understanding and appreciation of your wishes.
At Barlow Robbins we have specialist teams who advise on the preparation of Wills as well as the resolution of Will and inheritance disputes across our offices in Guildford, Godalming and Woking. If you do find yourself involved in a Will or inheritance dispute then we have the expertise and experience to advise you on the merits of the claim as well as the prospects of success.

For further advice on Will & Inheritance disputes, please call us on 01483 543210 or alternatively email scotttaylor@barlowrobbins.com

By Scott Taylor