Wills and Probate

Contentious probate

Zoe Fleming and Katy Rider - Contentious probate

Professionally prepared Wills by a solicitor

I was struck this week by an article I read in one of the national newspapers. The article was about members of a family suing each other over a Will. The point of the matter was that there were two Wills. One scribbled on a piece of paper (a homemade Will) and another professionally prepared by a solicitor. A homemade Will may certainly be valid, particularly if this is the only Will, and if it seems likely it is genuine. The problem arises, however, where a Will is contested. When a solicitor prepares a Will, possible challenges are thought about in advance and mitigated in the process of preparation of the Will. Also, of course, the chain of evidence for it is the sole, valid Will is watertight.

Contentious probate

One unforeseen consequence of a homemade Will being contested is legal costs. Costs for resolving the matter can significantly eat into the money that is being inherited. Inheritance disputes are more common now than they used to be. This may reflect a generalised increase in wealth and family complexity.

It is very important not only to have your Will prepared by a firm of solicitors but also a solicitor who specialises in the drafting of Wills. This is because they will have years of experience dealing with clients. Additionally, our expert solicitors will be able to draft your Will to take into account all of your personal circumstances, no matter how complex they are.

A well-drafted Will can allow you to appoint executors. Executors take responsibility for dealing with your affairs and to nominate guardians for your children. A will can also appoint trustees to manage your assets for the benefit of other people. For example, for the young people in your family who might be below the legal age at the time of your passing or those with a disability. Ultimately they can dictate the terms of the distribution of your estate.

The Wills and probate department at Marsden Rawsthorn will help you to plan for the management of your estate and assets on your death. We take into account your individual and financial circumstances. We will guide you through all the different options. Importantly, we make sure that your final wishes are clear and legally binding.

If you are unfortunate enough to be involved in a Will dispute we can also act for you in this complicated area of law. Both bringing and defending an action.

Article written by Zoe Fleming

Zoe Fleming – Head of Wills, Trusts and Probate and can be contacted on 01257 237507 or email ZFleming@marsdenrawsthorn.com

Katy Rider – Dispute Resolution Solicitor with experience of cases involving contested Wills and can be contacted on 01772 799614 or by email KRider@marsdenrawsthorn.com

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