Whilst any Will can be contested for up to six months following death, having a specialist third party Will writing specialist to help formulate and produce your Will can greatly limit the possibility of a contentious probate, and family feud situation which can be a drawn out affair with high legal costs.
An independent Will writing specialist can not only maximise the value of your estate, advising on such matters of Inheritance Tax (IHT) and trusts, but also to help ensure a sense of ‘fair play’ and reduce the uncertainty as to whether you were of sound mind or ‘coerced’ into making certain decisions with regard to beneficiaries, and the amount of your estate they are to receive.
A recent press story, by Martin Parrin in the February 13th 2020 edition of ‘Today’s Wills & Probate’ perfectly illustrates what can happen when a family instigates the Will writing process rather than a third party specialist appointed by the Testator.
Mrs Guymers Will of 2014 saw her £800,000 estate equally split between her 11 nieces and nephews. However, Mrs Guymer, who was ill with cancer, changed her Will just two months prior to her death.
The new Will saw her leaving the bulk of her estate – her £650,000 home, to her brother, Terry Crook and his two sons. The remainder of the estate, worth around £180,000, was to be divided between Mrs Guymer’s 9 other nephews and nieces.
This last minute Will, organised by one of Terry Crook’s sons, was contested by Diane Stoner – Mrs Guymer’s sister, and her niece Karen Reeve on the basis that Terry Crook and his son ‘coerced’ his sister into making the new Will. Terry Crook and his sons had even sought medical testimony from Mrs Guymer’s GP to determine she was fit enough to make the new Will.
The new Will was apparently based on Mrs Guymer’s wish to pass the land, on which her home was located – and which was ‘gifted’ to her by Terry Crook, back to him and his two sons.
Diane Stoner and Karen Reeve were claiming that Mrs Guymer was ill, lacked mental capacity and that the Will was ‘procured by undue influence’ from Terry Crook and his son with a ‘forced’ Will signature obtained whilst Mrs Guymer was in a hospital waiting room.
At the time of writing this, the matter was still unresolved.
Speak to Dunham McCarthy with regard to all your estate planning and Will procurement matters to give both you and your family complete peace of mind.