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Can your Will be challenged?

Under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975, a will can be challenged if the deceased failed to provide reasonable financial provision for a spouse, cohabitee, dependant or child. Where a claim is upheld, the beneficiaries named in the will receive less than they were originally bequeathed.

A well-drafted will and a ‘statement of reasons’ can often help to avoid claims under the act or help to defend such a claim in court. A statement of reasons should be carefully drafted by the practitioner, and signed by the testator.

Litigation of this sort is becoming more prevalent partly due to ‘no win no fee’ agreements and peoples increasing financial needs. Where a claim is brought even if ultimately no award is made the administration of an estate can be delayed by up to three years. It is therefore essential where any potential claimants are being exclude by Will that a statement be prepared to help prevent any future litigation.

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Lasting Powers of Attorney – Myths and Facts

Two in three people will lose the capacity to make decisions at some point. The most common conditions that affect capacity include stroke; Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia, someone could also lose mental capacity as the result of an injury, in a car accident for example.

In any situation where you lack capacity unless you have already completed a Lasting Power of Attorney, your loved ones will need to apply to become your ‘deputy’ through the Court of Protection, Deputyship is a time consuming and arduous court process that can cost thousands of pounds. To avoid this a lasting power of attorney is a legal document that lets you ‘the Donor’ appoint someone you trust known as an ‘attorney’ to make decisions on your behalf. In order to make a power of attorney you must still have mental capacity, once you have lost capacity, it is too late.

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