How to Protect a Will From Challenges

Even when all the necessary steps have been taken to ensure a will is prepared correctly, it doesn’t stop family members from challenging the will. This is especially true when the deceased has left key family members out of their will. In this article, we take a look at a few things that can be done to protect a will from being challenged. 

Testamentary capacity

Mental capacity is a common reason why a will is challenged. This is when it is thought that the person creating the will did not have the mental capacity at the time of writing, which therefore makes the will invalid. To prevent this from happening, you can use a medical professional to confirm you have testamentary capacity and there is no issue that impacts your ability to create a valid will. This is especially important if you have been diagnosed with any issues or illnesses that might make others question your mental capacity.

Destroy all old wills

If you have a previous will and have decided to change where your estate is distributed, it's important that you destroy all original documents and copies of your old will. Even if your new will has a later date, it's still an important step to destroy old documents. If someone has been taken out of your new will, they might try and use the old will to challenge and make a claim for part of your estate. Contact any solicitors that have copies or originals of old wills and make sure they destroy them or collect them yourself so you can ensure they are destroyed. 

Undue influence 

If anyone believes that someone pressured you into making a will, it could be a reason to challenge the legitimacy of the document. When making a will, you should do all of the work yourself, including making the appointment and attending the appointment. This will ensure no one can be accused of pressuring you into writing the will. 

Store a will safely

Challenges can easily be made if a will can’t be found after the person has died. Storing a will in a safe place can prevent these attempts to gain ancestry probate. It is critical that the original version of the will is safe; a copy can be challenged based on the assumption that the original was destroyed and revoked before death. Storing your will with your solicitor is one option to ensure it is kept safe. Alternatively, you can choose to store it yourself at home in a safe location. You should make sure that you inform your executors of the location of the original copy of the will to avoid issues. Copies can be useful, but they can cause problems if the original document can’t be found.

Use a professional

Creating a will yourself is a much cheaper and more convenient way to make a will. However, unless you’re a professional in the field, you won’t know the intricacies of the law and how to ensure your will can’t be easily challenged. The cost to use a professional is worth it so you can rest in the knowledge that your assets will be going to the people you care about most when you pass away. Don’t choose the first or cheapest professional you come across, do some research to ensure that the company you choose has a good reputation and experience in writing wills. 

Update your will

Wills are often written and forgotten about until they’re needed. This could mean when you pass, your will is out of date and doesn’t take into account your recent marriage, additional grandchildren or any disputes with your previous partner. Keep your will in mind when anything major happens in your life, as you may need to update it to reflect the new circumstances. Keeping a copy at home and reviewing it annually is a good way to ensure you’re still happy with everything that currently stands. If you change your mind on any points, make sure you speak to the professional that prepared your will as soon as possible so you can update it to reflect your new wishes. Deaths, marriages, births and disputes are often reasons why you may need to change your will. 

Find out more information about Wills and trusts: how to plan your finances for when you’re gone

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How to Protect a Will From Challenges
Rosa Cunningham