‘My nephew stole my £750k inheritance’ – Why lockdown Wills are leading to family fallouts

I am seeing increasing numbers of cases which arise from lockdown Wills.

This case, reported by The Times, involved a 2020 Will, prepared by solicitors for a 90 year old farm owner. A previous Will left the £750,000 farm to the Testator’s 3 children equally, but the new Will changed the beneficiaries to the Testator’s grandson, who he had shared lockdown with. A settlement was mediated between solicitors acting for the parties, but doubtless at huge expense.

Unfortunately the lockdowns increased the vulnerability of those who were elderly or unwell, isolated from other family members and potentially pressured. I have seen more homemade Wills prepared in this period, which presents a further challenge as there are no notes of the circumstances in which it was prepared, who was present, or the health of the Testator. In this case the Will was prepared by solicitors, who are now facing a negligence claim, on the basis that the Testator was not in a fit state to change his Will.

Due to their very nature, these issues are hard to spot as they happen behind closed doors and often only come to light post death. However, if you suspect a loved one may be coerced or taken advantage of, have a conversation with them, and if there are grave concerns for someone vulnerable then you can report to Adult Safeguarding at their local council, or even the police.

If you are worried about a dispute such as this, contact me for an initial consultation.

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This post references an article published in The Times.