Whether your family are worried that you were forced to make certain provisions, or simply that you were no longer in a mindset that enabled you to make rational decisions for yourself, challenging a will often proves to be an incredibly stressful and emotionally exhausting time for your loved ones. As such, one of the best things we can do for our loved ones is to create a comprehensive, clear and legally valid will that is ready to offer total peace of mind as to your wishes, in the event of your death. Read more below about some of the most common will writing mistakes that can cause significant complications down the line.
It Hasn’t Been Witnessed Properly
As with many legally binding documents, two valid witnesses must be present at the time of signing in order to ensure that, should it be called into question in the future, they are able to confirm that it was you who signed it.
Having witnesses sign your will in the presence of a legal professional is by far the safest option. It is, more often than not, simply a case of misunderstanding the requirements that leads testators and their witnesses to make these mistakes.
There is a Clerical Error
Wills are subject to strict rules surrounding their creation, and any mistakes – even one that is seemingly trivial – could mean that the will is deemed invalid, or more easily called into question by those who want to challenge your wishes. Clerical errors, unfortunately, can serve to cast doubt over the entire document.
The Will Was Made by a Person Who Lacked the Capacity to Do So at the Time
Sometimes, severe illness or injury can render an individual incapable of making sound decisions for themselves. It is relatively rare that we can benefit from some warning before the deterioration begins, and it is for this reason that creating your will as soon as possible, and not putting it off until the last moment, is so vital.
It Was Forged or Forced
‘Undue influence’ is a term used to refer to instances in which you, the testator, have been pressured or forced into making provisions within your will that do not align with your true wishes. While it may sound farfetched, it can and does happen – particularly when the testator is in a vulnerable position due to, say, illness or injury.
Similarly, there are times when it becomes clear that a will has been written or altered by someone other than the testator. This can be obvious – for instance, if the handwriting or signature does not match – or it can take a great deal of time to confirm.
In these instances, even if it looks as though only a small portion of the will has been forged, the entire will may well be challenged and deemed invalid. There are plenty of reasons for which a will can be contested. These documents represent our final requests, and they must be treated with a high degree of respect and, of course, caution, in order to ensure that they truly represent your wishes.