Disputed Will In Scotland - Validity Issues
Scottish Disputed Will:
DIY wills sound like a wonderful idea in theory, but in fact there are a lot of solicitors who do very well time and again from dealing with a disputed will. It seems strange that people can amass a considerable amount of assets and yet they spend only a few pounds on a do it yourself will pack which can lead to all kinds of mistakes being made with the will itself. It is a sad fact that there are probably thousands of people in Scotland right now who feel safe in the knowledge that they have made their own will - and yet they don't realise that the very same will is a potentially disputed will or is totally invalid because of a simple mistake they have made.
Execution Of A Will:
A will has to be signed properly for it to be recognised by the law. There is a very precise set of steps which must be followed and it is very easy to go wrong if you don't know what you are doing, or you don't have a solicitor to check everything over for you. Errors here often result in disputed will litigation by beneficiaries of an earlier will who do not feature in the later disputed will. If the disputed will is declared void then the earlier will takes precedence.
Full Asset Distribution:
Another common problem with DIY wills is that the person making their own will doesnt dispose of all their assets. A properly drafted will takes care of items that are not specificaly bequested thereby ensuring that the state cannot step in with a claim.
Changing Family Relationships:
Relationships can also unduly complicate things when it comes to writing your own will. A qualified professional will writer be aware of all the situations where a will could be contested and see to it that a will is made that is legally binding and relevant in all situations. Many people write their own will and naturally assume they will die before everyone they have recognised as a beneficiary, but if this doesn't happen it can lead to problems if the will hasn't been written to reflect this possible event. The contingencies of births, marriages, deaths and civil partnerships must all be taken into account to reduce the opportunity for disputed will litigation. In Scotland a will is not automatically revoked on marriage, separation or divorce.
Provision For Dependents:
A will can be challenged if there is inadequate provision made for relevant dependents of the deceased at the time of death. Only a spouse, civil partner, children (legitimate or illigitimate) or their descendants can challenge the distribution of asetts in a will. Disputed will litigation is common in Scotland in this area of the law.
Undue Influence And Sound Mind:
The person making the will must be aged over 12 years and must understand what they are doing. The intervention of mental illness or senility will prevent the execution of a valid will. In addition the document must be made with the free will of the testator and undue influence will invalidate the document that purports to be a will. Disputed will litigation in Scotland is common in regards to issues of senility in the elderly.
Amendment by Codicil:
Another potential problem of DIY wills relates to amendments. The fact is that most wills need to be changed or altered at some point, and if this isn't done in the exact manner that it should be, the whole will may become void. It's not enough to simply cross out the bit that no longer applies and initial it - much as you would a cheque - but some people don't seem to realise this. A formal change is called a codicil and it must be carried out exactly in accordance with the law in order to avoid the potential for disputed will litigation.
Seeking Professional Advice:
Our experienced panel solicitors will be able to guide you and offer advice on either contesting a will using the no win no fee scheme or they can offer advice on how to make sure your beneficiaries receive exactly what you want them to once you are gone. It's important to be able to understand the whole process and this is what our panel solicitors strive for. You won't have to decipher any complex legal terms because our panel will explain everything properly and ensure you are clear on all matters.