We are seeing a significant rise in enquiries about contested probate cases – where someone challenges the validity of a will, or queries a legacy.
This is a worrying trend as recent research shows that almost two thirds (64%) of adults do not have a will and of those that do, almost a third (32%) are out of date.
Wills should be revised to take into account major life changes, including marriage, children and divorce. Yet a third of wills (33%) were last reviewed over six years ago, 10% of wills have either never been checked or were last done 20 years ago and, worryingly, 81% of married people did not know their existing will was revoked when they tied the knot.
Also, almost two thirds of respondents wrongly believed they were automatically covered by their partner's will – or do not know where they stand with regards to their partner’s will.
An out of date will can be almost as bad as having no will, as family circumstances and tax law changes over time. By not keeping a will up to date your actual wishes may not be met in terms of who inherits your estate.
We are receiving probate queries such as:
Aggrieved relatives who want to contest a will
Beneficiaries concerned about how executors are dealing with the estate
Charities wanting to protect a bequest left to them
Enquiries from people who have found a will that they believe doesn’t reflect the current situation, or doesn’t reflect the true intentions of the person who made it, so they assume that a later will must exist.
Being in a situation where you have either failed to make a will - or where your will is out of date - can result in disgruntled beneficiaries, further disputes and lasting damage to family relationships.
Whilst our Private Client team at hlw Keeble Hawson has two members who have completed the Association of Contentious Trust and Probate Specialists (ACTAPS) Education Course and are well equipped to advise on contentious inheritance issues,
We recommend that to avoid misunderstandings and family disputes everyone reviews their will regularly.
If you would like to discuss your existing will, draw up a new will, or have any queries about probate or legacies please contact Michele Todd on 0114 2906207 or by email at email@example.com