If you're thinking about how to protect your Will, it's very important to consider the family members or other beneficiaries of your estate. A well-drafted Will leaves them feeling secure and unlikely to challenge your wishes for how they are provided for after your divorce. It may also have a huge impact on whether a court can change those wishes in the future.
So how can you make sure your divorce and Wills can't be challenged? Here we look at seven ways to ensure nobody is able to challenge the validity of your will or the wishes you have set out in it.
1) Make sure your intended beneficiaries know about it
Firstly, if you don't want your Will to be challenged, beneficiaries must know about it. In the event of a challenge against your will by one of its beneficiaries, this is very strong evidence for the will's validity as they would have had every opportunity to challenge it at the time but failed to do so.
Second, suppose any of your potential beneficiaries were particularly close to you and know about your intentions. In that case, it will be even less likely to bring a challenge against the Will.
2) Make it clear how you intend for them to inherit and in what proportions
Avoid confusion by making it clear exactly how you would like things divided up amongst the beneficiaries. If you mention something vague like 'I'd like my mother to have some money when she needs it' to a beneficiary who has no idea what the rest of your will says, they could potentially assume that such money would come from their share.
However, if you have included precise details in your will, then there is less room for doubt about exactly what you intended.
3) Make it clear why you are making a gift to the beneficiaries, or add a letter explaining it
By adding an explanatory note to your Will, another beneficiary's suspicions can be allayed if they were unaware of the terms of the will. A simple note confirming the gift, specifying the beneficiaries name and relationship to you may be all that is needed to prevent a challenge.
4) Make it clear what you have left out, or specify how decisions about omitted beneficiaries are to be made
If one of your Will's beneficiaries feels entitled to more than they have been left in your will, they could take legal action to challenge the validity of your Will. Avoid a possible challenge by clarifying why you have left out certain beneficiaries or specifying how any changes to benefits for omitted beneficiaries should be made.
5) Don't name alternate beneficiaries in case the first choice is not available unless this is required by law
When drafting your will, if you have named possible alternate beneficiaries to be given your assets if the first choice is in no position to inherit, you must make this clear. If this is not specified in the Will itself, any secondary beneficiary could potentially challenge the Will because they are unaware of exactly what these terms are.
6) Keep a copy for your files
It may seem like an obvious point, but you must keep a copy of your Will for your records. If it is challenged in court and your original Will cannot be found, any other evidence that may suggest the will was properly executed could help make up for this.