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How to avoid your loved ones contesting your Will

09 December 2021 Written by Davidson Shirley Solicitors Category: Wills & Estates

If you are making a Will, you will likely have specific wishes for what should happen to your assets after you pass away. However, such plans can often come as a shock to those who stand to inherit from your estate and, as a result, your Will could be contested. For personalised guidance about protecting your Will, get in touch now.

How to prevent a Will from being contested

The death of a loved one can be a difficult time and, when financial affairs are also in question, this can lead to long and bitter court battles between family members. There are various steps you can take to minimise the risk of your Will being contested after you pass away, such as: 

Ensure your Will is valid

If your Will has been properly executed then it is much more difficult for someone to raise a claim that your Will might be invalid. For a Will to be valid in Scotland, it must be done voluntarily, in writing, and signed in front of a witness. 

While there are many online templates that allow you to create a basic Will by yourself (also known as DIY Wills), the legal formalities of drafting a Will are strict. If you fail to meet them, your Will may be declared invalid. An experienced Wills solicitor can make sure your Will is as clear as possible, helping you draft unambiguous terms to reduce the risk of it being contested at a later stage. 

Discuss your wishes 

Although no one likes to think about such matters, it is important that you discuss your wishes with your loved ones. For example, before you make a Will, you may wish to consider who will want to inherit certain sentimental items so you can make provision for these items in your Will. 

It is also common for Wills to be contested when a person leaves their residual estate to a charity. Other beneficiaries may have never heard of the charity and suspect that the person made the decision under undue influence or after they lost capacity. As a result, if there is a cause or charity you support and wish to inherit from your estate, you should ensure your friends and family members are aware of your decision. Talking with those closest to you about how you would like your assets to be distributed can help to avoid any surprises. 

Keep your Will updated

Life changes are normal, however, it can be easy to forget about updating your documents to reflect these circumstances. Whether you recently got married, divorced, or had children - all of these life events should be addressed in your Will. If you do not have an up to date Will on your death, there will likely be family members who are left without what you intended or what they expected, causing unnecessary friction between the beneficiaries. By keeping on top of your estate planning, you can ensure all of your loved ones are taken care of and mitigate the risk of your Will being contested. 

Contact Davidson & Shirley Wills Solicitors in Lanark, Motherwell & Wishaw, Scotland

At Davidson & Shirley, we can help you get peace of mind that your loved ones will be looked after and that your estate will be distributed as you wish after you pass away. To speak to one of our professional and personable private client solicitors, contact us today on 01555 662576 or complete our online enquiry form.

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