A recent survey conducted by The Capacity Vault shows that almost half of the Society of Will Writers and Institute of Professional Will Writers are concerned about Wills written during the pandemic being challenged in court. People may be contesting pandemic Wills on many grounds.
45% of those surveyed felt that clients of traditional will writers lacked protection from challenge on capacity grounds. This increased to 86% for clients of online will services. Similar worries were raised about protection from undue influence and fraud.
Oliver Asha, solicitor and founder of Capacity Vault, said “Will writing professionals have adapted to provide their services remotely. This brings greater risk of challenge to wills. Fortunately new technologies can protect clients’ wishes. AI and blockchain technologies can reduce the need for time-consuming legal and medical professional’s reports.”
Pandemic Will Practices
The COVID pandemic has almost tripled the number of will writers offering remote services in England and Wales, according to the Trends in Will Writing survey conducted by Capacity Vault Ltd.
Run in December 2020, the study asked members of the Society of Will Writers and Institute of Professional Will Writers about their experiences of writing wills during the pandemic.
The results showed that 95% of will writers surveyed have taken instructions remotely since the start of the COVID pandemic, up from 32% before March 2020.
The most common ways of taking instructions remotely included video calls (79%), over the phone (66%) and by email (25%). Almost one in ten will writers (8%) had taken instructions via text message or WhatsApp chat.
The Capacity Vault survey results largely agree with the findings of the SRA and Oxford University Technology and Innovation in Legal Services report published last year, which revealed that the area of wills, probate and trusts ranked highly in early tech adopter surveys, scoring as the second largest group of respondents currently using, or planning to use legal technology.
Inheritance Disputes in the UK and Contesting Pandemic Wills
We have previously reported on the record numbers of inheritance disputes in the UK, and also remote Will practices during the pandemic. Whilst it hasn’t been proven that the rise in inheritance disputes is due to people contesting pandemic Wills, there may be a link between the two.
If anyone believes the will is not legally valid, it’s their right to challenge it. Valid grounds for contesting the will, include:
- If the testator was not in their right mind when they sign the last Will.
- They were unaware of what they were signing.
- The will was drawn up incorrectly or is completing without valid co-signing witnesses present.
- Forgery of the signature(s), which requires handwriting expert to prove.
- The beneficiaries have a right to the estate. Yet there is either no naming of them, or the caring for them is inadequate.
How We Can Help
Here at The Inheritance Experts we work with solicitors who have years of experience dealing with inheritance claims. This includes contesting pandemic Wills. Contact us today by filling in our contact form. Or call us on 01614138763 to speak to one of our friendly experts.