Dorset Family Law

Why do you need to know about statutory wills?

We all know how important it is to have an up to date will. But what if someone loses the mental capacity to make or update their will?

1 in 14 people over the age of 65 and 1 in 6 people over the age of 80 suffer from dementia, plus people lose testamentary capacity from head injuries or other health issues. Not having the ability to execute a will where family circumstances have changed, can lead to real problems and huge upset for families.

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Under an old will or the intestacy rules (which apply if someone dies without a will) the deceased’s estate may pass to an estranged spouse or an estranged child; a long term partner, child or grandchild may be left out; or there may be a larger than necessary inheritance tax bill to pay. These are just some of the possible consequences resulting from the deceased having been unable to update their will.

Frequently, such situations lead to protracted and expensive probate dispute. However, there is, in many cases, a solution in the form of a statutory will. A statutory will is a will which is drafted and signed on behalf of the person who lacks capacity and approved by the Court of Protection. The court will approve a statutory will where it finds that is in the best interests of the person who lacks capacity.

Statutory wills are not commonly applied for, mainly because firms don’t have the knowledge or experience to do so. We are experienced in dealing with statutory will applications, having made 4 recently and having 3 solicitors that specialise in this area of the law. We also specialise in contentious probate, Inheritance Act claims and disputes relating to Court of Protection matters. If you would like advice about any of the above please contact Lucy Mignot on 01305 217303 or lucy.mignot@blanchardsbailey.co.uk.

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