F Barnes News and Events

News and Events

Disputing a Will - Does this affect your mental health?

View profile for Joanne Druce
  • Posted
  • Author

Co-habiting couples - the need to challenge a Will

When someone decides to enter into a personal litigation such as disputing a will it can have a dramatic affect on their mental health.
Disputing a will involves challenging a family member and can be extremely traumatic.
In a recent survey undertaken by Irwin Mitchell they found over 80% of respondents said most or some of their clients had shown symptoms of mental health issues such as anxiety or depression during the course of their will dispute proceedings, with 90% of those surveyed believing their clients had difficulties in asking for help.The report further went on to state that a common response of what causes stress during will disputes included the emotional strain and fighting with family instead of being allowed time to grieve the loss of a loved one, as well as the lack of understanding of the legal process.
Financial strains also formed a key part of responses to the survey as the reason why clients’ mental health could decline during litigation proceedings. One respondent said: “One of my clients was in thousands of pounds in debt, getting mortgage repossession orders and we were trying to help him in any way we could".
It may surprise you to learn that the legislation in relation to cohabiting couples can leave a surviving partner  unprotected when their life partner passes away. In many cases the claimant needs to bring a claim on their life partners estate against family members they thought would be on their side. This is necessary because there are no concrete laws protecting cohabitees.
In todays  litigious society we are seeing a dramatic rise in the number of contested wills. This is for a multitude of reasons.
We can attribute a high number to the fact that the validity of the will is called into question, that coupled with the unprotected life partner if they are not married along with rising values for each estate has given solicitors cause for concern.
The trauma of losing a loved one is enough in itself, to have to consider going through a contested litigation process with solicitors against family members is not something that can be followed through without an element of stress.
The financial implications of bringing a case are considerable.
With so many people putting off making a valid, up to date will, due to cost they leave the legal process to ascertain  who inherits their estate.
As solicitors we take years to qualify in being able to provide you with the complete advice package, not only do we take your instructions in the preparation of your will but we look at all the possibilities and tax implications before advising and engrossing your will. Other online services or will writing companies do not offer the same service.
We cannot stress enough that one should prepare for the future to give peace of mind. The law in this area is very complex, you need to see a legal expert. If you would like a no obligation consultation with one of our experts please email joanne.druce@fbarnes.co.uk 
Should you consider that you need advice in relation to contesting a will then we have an expert team on hand to advise. Email tjclients@fbarnes.co.uk.