Those who have ever had to respond to a Larke V Nugus request will appreciate just how wide of the mark the above statement is, with many Solicitors and Will Writers often passing these on to someone in their practice to deal with.
On the face of it, such a request for information and personal testimony from the Will drafter is reasonable. They are difficult to refuse if there is a potential claim with some merit and in fact, Will drafters are bound to respond by releasing the Will file and everything in it, along with a full statement setting out all matters relating to the taking of instructions for the Will and its execution, ending with a signed statement of truth!
Hopefully, the Will drafter’s notes are in good order and they jog their memory enough to answer the more detailed enquiries in the Larke v Nugus letter. What happens however if this is NOT the case?
It is certainly possible that the same Will writer ends up being cross-examined in a witness box with the potential sideshow of the Will writer themselves trying to explain why no notes were retained or insufficient. A client’s Will may well be declared invalid if poor notes are kept and the Will is challenged. The reality is that as inheritance levels are rising year after year, and contested probate is becoming even more prevalent. Whilst Larke v Nugus requests come after the event, the foundations to a good response that supports your client’s wishes and your own professional conduct starts with your own Will file.
The WHY, the WHERE, the WHEN, the WHERE and the WHO
The problem is that a clients’ Will only really describes WHAT they wish to do with their estate, and doesn’t include any of their deciding factors or circumstances surrounding the Will drafting and execution, and it is these which may be questioned at a later date. Having a fully detailed account of the “Reasons Why” ensures that should the Will be challenged in the future, you are essentially giving the deceased a voice.
With many more disgruntled beneficiaries now actively being encouraged to contest Wills and Solicitor firms using Larke v Nugus requests as “fishing expeditions” the chances of you having to respond to one or more of these complaints is inevitable.
Receiving a Larke v Nugus request can be exceptionally time consuming and expensive to your practice and with an increasing trend of Contentious Probate, the requirement for systematic record keeping has never been more important.
So, what’s the solution?
Countrywide Legacy in partnership with Martin Holdsworth, Contentious Probate solicitor and owner of IDR Law which specialises in Inheritance Dispute Resolution, has developed a Will Clarity software package which is unique to the legal industry.
Our Software Package automatically compiles statements which fully satisfies the why, the how, the where, the when and the who when it comes to your clients Will, their wishes and the surrounding circumstances. This helps protect both your business and your client by reducing the risk of a successful challenge and means that you are providing your clients with the best possible service at all times.
Introducing the Countrywide Legacy Will Clarity Package
“Every client wants one and every Will Writing business wants their clients to have one”
How does it work?
The Will Clarity package is a Three Step Process which has been specifically designed to ensure your business is fully prepared for when a challenge is received:
Step 1. The Will Clarity package populates all the relevant questions during the Will instruction taking process, guiding you seamlessly through the contentious areas of any Will and fully detailing the “reasons why” the Testator has made the choices they have. The software enables you to automatically produce a Will Clarity Statement for each and every client, at the touch of a button! This statement is then read and signed by the client as confirmation, which can even be done electronically. Securely stored within the software this essentially “gives your client a voice” after they have gone, safe guarding your clients against potential future claims from disgruntled beneficiaries.
Step 2. The Execution Statement – once the legal documents have been drafted to the client’s satisfaction, they need to be correctly executed. Our software manages the entire execution process populating the relevant questions surrounding execution, and automatically compiling an Execution Statement, which is a complete record of how, when, where and by whom the documents were signed and witnessed thereby reducing the risk of any doubts on their validity.
Step 3. The Larke V Nugus statement – With the information from both the Will Clarity and Execution statements securely stored in the software, you will be able to automatically generate a full Larke V Nugus statement, at the touch of a button, in response to any request whenever they might be received, saving you valuable time and money. In addition, a Larke V Nugus statement can also be generated for existing cases.
Countrywide Legacy’s Will Clarity Package software package ensures that you automatically compile and electronically store all the information required to protect your clients and to be able to fully respond to a Larke v Nugus request saving you endless time and money.
By seamlessly steering you through the relevant questions incorporated into the Instruction taking process, the Will Clarity statement and the Execution statement, means that you can be 100% sure that you or your team never miss anything out and you always have an accurate and comprehensive record of your client meetings, ultimately protecting your business whilst doing right by your clients and giving the “deceased a voice”.
If you want to risk your Will writing business being seen as “A Comedy of Errors” and prefer it to be a matter of “All’s Well That Ends Well” then…