A Last Will and Testament is the only legal document that speaks for you after you have died. It makes key appointments including your Executor and guardians for your children. It also describes the distribution of everything you own. Every adult should have a legal Last Will and Testament in place. Without one, you will die intestate and the courts effectively write one for you.
Have you ever been left out of a Will and thought that you deserved something from the estate? Do you think that family members have acted unfairly, or that a step-parent has influenced your parent? do you think that something suspicious may have happened to a parent’s Will? This article discusses the grounds for challenging a Will in the UK, and what specific factors contribute to a successfully contesting a Will.
We are often asked the question “can your Wills be challenged?” Keep in mind that any Will can be challenged. If a loved ones did not receive what they were expecting from a Will, then they are perfectly entitled to challenge the Will. Typically this would be done through a Solicitor.
But very quickly, the solicitor will be able to tell their client whether they have any chance of success.
There are very specific grounds for a Will to be successfully contested, and we will describe these in this article. Let us start with what will not likely result in a successful challenge.
Every single adult should have a Will in place, but most do not. If you are reading this, you may have given some thought to writing a Will, but not sure how to get started. You have seen different approaches to writing a Will, but you are not sure which services offer a quality, affordable Will writing service, without questionable extras. Hopefully this overview will help you take the next step.
Why you need a Will.
A Will allows you to describe the distribution of your estate. It puts somebody in charge of the process, and it allows you to do things like name a guardian for your children, make charitable bequests and set up trusts.
If you die without a Will, the courts take over. Your family and loved ones will have to work their way through a court process that will eventually do the work of your Will, but probably not the way you would have wanted.
The courts will put somebody in charge of the process. Hopefully this is somebody with the administrative skills needed, and a person who has a good rapport with your family and your beneficiaries. They are going to have to work with the people you have left behind to distribute everything you own according to a legal formula. In the meantime your assets will be frozen.
Then your assets will likely be liquidated and divided according to the laws of “intestate succession”. If you are married without children, then it is possible that your intended distribution plan would match the intestate succession plan. But in almost every other case, your assets will be divided in a very strange way.
Estate planning is a critical part of financial planning, but a task that often never quite makes it to the top of your To Do list. Having your final wishes clearly set out can relieve your loved ones of unnecessary stress and financial burdens. To help you along your estate planning journey we have listed 6 common mistakes that anyone can make when writing a Will.
Mistake #1: Assuming that Wills are only for the wealthy
Before the advent of online Will writing services there were two general approaches to writing a Will. Going to a solicitor, or writing your own Will on a piece of paper. These two approaches were diametrically opposite. A solicitor would be able to provide you with legal advice, and potentially write custom clauses in your Will, but the service would cost you several hundreds of pounds.
The option of going to a solicitor was not available to everybody either because of a lack of time, or an unwillingness to pay high fees to what was perceived to be a simple instruction. So many people attempted to write their own Will starting with a blank sheet of paper, and in general terms explain how they would want their estate to be distributed. The common belief was that writing at least something on a piece of paper, was better than dying without a Will.
In the mid to late 1990’s a number of blank form kits started entering the market. Available from shops like WHSmith the kits provided some structure to writing a Will, and at least guided the user through making some key appointments, and included the formalities of revoking previous Wills, and signing the new document.
One of the most important estate planning decisions that you must think about is how to choose an executor for your Will. Surprisingly, many people do not give much thought to just how important an executor is. Often the task I given to a family member without much thought about whether that person is the best for the job.
An executor has a very important role. They will be in charge of administering your estate as efficiently and promptly as possible. It is a big responsibility to undertake. You really should give some serious thought about how you choose an executor for your Will.
Are you struggling with the question of how to choose an Executor for your Will? The role of an Executor is a very important one. You need to make sure that you are making a wise decision. Your Executor will be trusted to take care of the administration of your estate after you die.It is a very important role. You really want to make the right decision when you choose an Executor for your Will.
Here are some questions that you should ask yourself when you are considering who to appoint as your Executor when you write your own Will.
It is important to understand what an Executor will actually have to do. This will help you to see if the people you have in mind for the job will be able to take on these tasks. Put simply, the role of an Executor is to carry out the wishes of the deceased person and administer their estate. However, what exactly does this entail? It is very important to know what someone will have to do before you choose an Executor for your Will. Is your choice up to the task? Will they have time to carry out all the duties of an Executor? Continue reading →
You may have heard of the term “estate plan”. Perhaps you know it has something to do with your Last Will and Testament. But what exactly is an estate plan and how do you set one up?
In short, an estate plan is a set of documents that allow you to control your health and financial affairs when you are alive, but unable to handle them yourself, and also take care of your financial affairs after you have passed away. There are five classic documents that form a complete estate plan, but two additional documents that we feel, in 2016, that you should add to round out your plan.
They key word here is “plan”. These documents all allow you to describe what will happen if you are unable to take care of things yourself. You name individuals to take on your responsibilities and provide them with clear instructions on what to do. Which means that you can only prepare these documents when you have full mental capacity. You cannot wait until you no longer have capacity. If this ever happens to you, through illness or accident, it is then too late to prepare any of these documents.
“Why should I pay £24.95 for your service when there are free Will kits available everywhere?” . A reasonable enough question, so please allow us to explain.
In every high street in the UK we have seen a growth of the pound shop; Poundland, PoundWorld, Poundstretcher and just to shake it up; 99pLand.
But we all know that there are some things that you can buy with confidence from a pound store; notepads, desk organisers, colouring books, egg cups. And there are some things that you would probably think twice; smoke alarms, electricals, first aid supplies. I once saw a discount lifejacket in a pound shop. It didn’t feel right.
So how can we establish the value of a Last Will and Testament, when what appears to be the same product is available for £1,000 from a top solicitor. But also a free download from a website. Continue reading →
“My husband and I are interested in creating a will. Our primary reason is to ensure our child’s care and safety. There are blood relatives that we do not feel are suited to take custody of our child. Can your service help us cover this concern in our wills? We need to name a guardian for our children.”
Everybody needs a Will, but there is one group for whom a Last Will and Testament is invaluable – parents of young children. Writing a Will can offer you the peace of mind in knowing that your children will grow up in a loving and safe environment. A Will allows parents to make their own decisions about Guardianship by expressing their preference for who the Guardian for their children should be. A Will also allows parents to explain why their chosen Guardian would be appropriate for their child, and if all else is equal, the family courts will appoint the named Guardian in most circumstances. Continue reading →
We know that most people have not written their Will. These people fall into two camps; the group who think it’s important, but haven’t got around to it yet, but hopefully they will write a Will at some time in the future. The second group are those who have the “why do I care? I’ll be dead anyway” approach. Although they’ve hopefully spent their life thinking of other people, they feel content simply letting their family and loved ones sort everything out once they are gone.
Unfortunately, they don’t understand that taking just 20 minutes now, can save their family from distress, acrimony, family feuds, and potentially expensive legal battles.
Surely I’m overstating the impact of not having a Will? Let me explain ten good reasons why you should write a Will today, based on our 15 years of experience in dealing with distraught family members whose loved one died without a Will in place.
We get this question a lot “Can you let me know how to make a Will for my parents, or an elderly neighbour?”. You may have a friend or family member who needs a Will, but they are not very good with computers. You have heard horror stories about the blank DIY Will Kits and how they don’t produce quality final documents. Surely there must be another option.
Let’s be clear from the outset. The person that you intend to prepare the Will for must have testamentary capacity. It’s one thing for them to not like computers, but if they are struggling with a cognitive illness like dementia or Alzheimer’s, then this is a non-starter. The person must know that they are working with their Last Will and Testament, they must understand the contents of that document, and they must appreciate the implications of what they are signing.
We would also recommend steering away from this approach if you are planning on making yourself a beneficiary in the Will. Particularly if other people have an expectation that they will be beneficiaries, but are going to be disinherited. For example, if you are one of three siblings, and you want to help your elderly mother prepare her Will leaving everything to yourself, there is a good chance that the Will is going to be challenged and ultimately rejected by the courts. Likewise, if you are a care provider and planning to include yourself as a beneficiary, we would not recommend taking this approach. Continue reading →
Most people know that they need a Will, but according to recent statistics, as many as 30 million UK adults have not made a Will. According to this report; more than half of UK adults don’t have a Will, but only ten percent of those have not even considered it.
If you step through the service at LegalWills.co.uk, you can create a legal Will for £24.95. However, if you use the following discount code, you’ll get twenty percent off. You can have a legal Will in your hands in about twenty minutes for less than twenty quid. Everybody needs a Last Will and Testament, so what on earth would stop anybody from doing this?
In reality though, we know that the price of the service at LegalWills.co.uk is not your barrier to preparing a Will.
Here’s some things that may be going through your mind that could stop you from writing your legal Will right now. Continue reading →
Why do I need to pay to create a Will using your service, when I can get a free one downloaded from the internet, or buy a blank Will kit from WHSmith for a couple of pounds.
We get this question a lot, and it is sometimes difficult for people to fully understand the difference between using an online Will writing services like the one at LegalWills.co.uk compared to using a blank Will kit.
To illustrate the difference, we have highlighted just 20 ways in which using a blank Will kit can lead to a disaster. Because, ironically, the simpler the Will kit, the more difficult it is to write a well drafted Will. You may find it interesting that these were culled from an initial list of 45!!
1. You don’t check where the Will kit came from and who created it.
Before you download a free Will kit template, stop and think about who actually prepared the template. Nowadays anybody can set up a professional looking legal website for free using WordPress in about 2 hours. Continue reading →
There has been a great deal of discussion recently regarding the regulating of Will writing as a profession. On first glance it would seem strange that anybody can simply call themselves a “Will writer” and offer their services to prepare people’s Wills. So much so that the industry became quite competitive and aggressive, and we started to get accosted Continue reading →
Most people know that they need a Will, but many are put off by the cost of going to a solicitor, and the inconvenience of booking an appointment. Unfortunately, this leads people to resort to some poorly judged approaches to preparing their own Will – we are often asked if we can provide somebody with a sample Will, from which they can draft their own Last Will and Testament.
There are a few steps to this process and trouble at each step of the way;
Locating a sample Will
For the people who don’t contact us asking for a sample Will, most will simply Google the search term “sample Will” in the hope that they can find a Will templateContinue reading →
We’ve been offering a service to help you prepare your own Will for 14 years now. To us, the task couldn’t be simpler. But as with anything that you only do a few times in your life, the process can seem intimidating. So we’d like to breakdown the steps involved in writing your Will. Hopefully after reading these pointers, you will feel less anxious and ready to finally cross this very important item off your To Do list.
There are some important decisions to make before you start the process of writing your Will. Some of these require consultation with friends and family members. At LegalWills.co.uk we do not expect you to complete your Will in one sitting, but if you can discuss some of these decisions Continue reading →
I’d like to start by defining some terms. An Online Will service allows you to step through an interactive interview on the internet, at the end of which a document is generated. This document should then be printed and signed in the presence of two witnesses to create a legal Last Will and Testament. There is no such thing as an “online Will” – any digitally stored or scanned document is not legally admissible to probate. A document created through an online Will service still needs to be printed and signed to make it legal.
A DIY Will Kit is a blank form kit that you might buy from Amazon, or WHSmiths. It is generally a form with some typed clauses and white spaces for you to handwrite your details. They sometimes come with a disk that lets you type in your answers.
When you prepare a Will using our service, the final document will include many legal terms and unfamiliar language that we do not tend to use in our daily lives. There will be expressions like “testamentary dispositions” and you won’t find a layman’s word like “everything” instead the Will is going to refer to “all my estate, both real and personal whatsoever and wheresoever” which for most people would amount to the same thing.
There are however 10 terms that there is no avoiding when preparing a well-drafted Will, and it is important to fully understand what they mean. They usually appear in this order in the Will;