Our Offices
  • Newark: 01636 671 881
  • Southwell: 01636 813 411
  • Mansfield: 01623 666 700
Conveyancing Quote

Pick an office you would prefer to work with:

Wills & LPA Quote

Pick an office you would prefer to work with:

Adding a belt and braces to your Will

26th February 2018

Will makers are free to make the Will they wish, just as the probate documents for Lady Lucan revealed that she had cut her three children out of her Will and left her entire estate to the homelessness charity Shelter.

However, some people are understandably concerned about subsequent claims being made against their estates after their death – often by someone they have decided not to include in their Will or by someone who feels they should have been benefitted in additional or other ways.

Elizabeth Rees, solicitor from Tallents Solicitors in Mansfield explains how a Statement of Explanation can help ensure your Will will not be challenged after your death

Elizabeth Rees, a solicitor on the Private client team at Tallents Solicitors in Mansfield explains that while you cannot stop claims being brought against your Will, there are a number of steps that can be taken to reduce the chances of a successful claim.

Making a Statement of Explanation in your Will

Elizabeth says:

“When you sit down to write your Will, you have gone to the considerable effort of assessing your assets and determining who you would like to inherit them after you have gone.

“In some instances, it is appropriate to further consider whether additional steps are required to ensure your wishes are carried out. If this is the case, then the will maker can prepare a Statement of Explanation outlining the reasons for their decision, as Lady Lucan did in her Will.”

Grounds for bringing a claim against an estate

Elizabeth continues:

“There are a number of potential grounds for bringing claims against a deceased’s estate. These include: arguments that the will maker lacked testamentary capacity, that the Will was not executed properly, that there was a lack of knowledge and approval by the will maker, the will maker was subject to undue influence, or that the document was fraudulent or forged.

“However, should any application be heard, then the court is then entitled to take into account any relevant matters. As such, a Statement of Explanation would give an excellent insight into the will maker’s rationale at the time the Will was made.”

Ensuring your wishes are carried out

“Equally, it may sometimes be appropriate to leave property to a needy beneficiary rather than an affluent one. If a claim is made, then the court is required to assess both the needs of the applicant and those of any other beneficiary in the estate.  The Supreme Court quite recently held that charities fall into this ‘needy’ category, as they are dependent on legacy income to continue their charitable objectives.”

Elizabeth continues:

“Forfeiture clauses can also be utilised when writing a Will to reduce the risk of a challenge to your wishes. You may wish to leave a small sum to an estranged relative with along with a clause that any attempts to challenge the Will could result in the deprivation of their entitlement.”

Elizabeth finishes:

“Using a professional will maker, such as a solicitor, can also serve to mitigate against a successful claim as testamentary capacity will be taken into account when drafting the Will. 

“If you are concerned about the prospect of a claim being made against your estate then you may wish to consider making a written statement setting out the reasons (without bitterness) for making limited or no provision for the potential claimant. If your Will is subsequently disputed it may provide valuable evidence of your intentions and the reasons for your decision.”

Tallents Solicitors offers appointments to discuss making single and joint Wills at all three of its offices. Elizabeth Rees is available for appointments at the Mansfield office on Westgate.

Read more

Leaving a legacy to a charity in your Will

14th September 2017
The 11th-17th September 2017 is Remember a Charity in your Will Week when everyone is encouraged to leave a bequest or legacy to their favourite charity in their Will. It’s a little known fact that most charities in the UK wouldn’t survive without gifts being left to them in Wills. By remembering your favourite charities in this way, you’re ensuring that… Read more

Wills aren’t just for the rich and famous – why you should have one too

26th January 2017
As 2016 ended, it seemed that being a celebrity continued to be a dangerous occupation as yet more famous faces passed away. The majority of famous people who passed on had planned ahead by leaving Wills documenting how their estates should be distributed. However, there were a couple of notable celebrities who died intestate during 2016: namely Prince and Caroline… Read more

Tallents Business Review of the Year 2016

16th December 2016
2016 started well as the economy continued to strengthen following the recession. However, the year held some surprises in store for us all with the June European referendum showing that a majority of the UK population wanted to leave the European Union, and the election of Donald Trump as the 45th President of the United States in November. For us… Read more

Writing a will, one New Year’s resolution worth keeping

1st February 2013
Writing a will to protect your loved ones in the event of your death could be a quick and easy New Year’s resolution to tick off the list. (more…) Read more