Lockdown wills – How Comprehensive Inheritance Insurance may assist

It has been widely reported in the legal press over the last month that there will be an increase in contentious probate claims due to some wills being hastily created during lockdown. Wills have to be drafted in accordance with the 1837 Wills Act to be valid, and there is concern that some of these wills may not have met the criteria, particularly surrounding the witnessing of the will. With lockdown measures meaning people have been confined to their homes, it may have been difficult to find two independent people to witness the signing of the will.

DUAL Asset’s Comprehensive Executor & Inheritance policy provides protection against the majority of issues an estate could encounter during estate administration, such as a will being challenged, a new will being found, an Inheritance Act claim, a missing beneficiary coming forward, legal rights claims…the list goes on.. Our policy is available in England and Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland and The Republic of Ireland with insured events tailored to each jurisdiction.

DUAL Asset’s policy will provide protection for the personal representatives, the beneficiaries and their legal advisors. In the event of a challenge to the deceased’s will, the policy provides protection against third parties claiming:

  • The will is fraudulent
  • The will was not properly executed
  • The deceased lacked the proper mental capacity at the time the will was made
  • The deceased was subject to undue influence
  • The deceased did not approve the content of the will.

Will challenges can cause a lengthy delay to the estate being administered, sometimes by months or even years. Increased costs can be incurred and can mount up very quickly, even when defending the most spurious of claims. DUAL Asset will consider insuring estates on a precautionary basis, or where a claim has already been made. The latter is subject to underwriting.

Leading Barrister, Elis Gomer of St Johns Buildings has provided an opinion on DUAL Asset’s foremost Comprehensive Executor and Inheritance Insurance policy. This single premium policy provides cover on the basis that the accompanying statements of fact can be met. Cover is provided in perpetuity and covers both intestacies and testate estates. Counsel concluded, “The indemnity provided by the policy would provide substantial peace of mind for the personal representative (and beneficiaries) of the estate.”

If you have a ‘lockdown will’ and are concerned the validity of the will could be challenged, or it has already been challenged and the distribution of the estate is being held up, please contact Kate Thorp – Manager of the Executor & Inheritance Protection team. Kate has over 20 years’ experience in this specialist area.

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