Applying for a statutory will
When filling in Court of Protection statutory will application forms, the applicant must supply:
- the family details of the person to whom it applies (these details must include full names and dates of birth of next of kin, and should be presented in the form of a family tree),
- the full names and addresses of any existing or prospective beneficiaries who will be affected by the application (where no will already exists, these prospective beneficiaries are the person’s next of kin, who would normally inherit their estate through the laws of intestacy).
Court appointed deputies, attorneys and guardians frequently ask us to find contact details for named and unnamed beneficiaries, and to conduct the genealogical research necessary to draw up a family tree so that they can complete the supporting documents that must accompany a statutory will application to the Court of Protection.
This is an area in which we have a great deal of expertise. We understand that there is often a need for discretion, and that frequently our research must be completed within very tight deadlines. To learn more about our work, please read our case histories.
For more information, advice or a quotation, please contact us.
Who can make a statutory will application to the Court of Protection?
A statutory will is a will made on behalf of someone who lacks the mental capacity to make one for themselves. This type of will is drawn up and approved following an application to the Court of Protection.
In the case of someone who has made a lasting power of attorney, or an enduring power of attorney and subsequently loses testamentary capacity, perhaps as a result of dementia, the application will be made by their attorney.
However, when no attorney has been appointed, or when the attorney is unable or unwilling to fulfil their role, the Court will appoint a deputy to manage the person’s affairs and it will fall to the deputy to make the application.
Attorneys and deputies can be legal professionals such as solicitors and legal executives, or lay people such as relatives and friends. Whichever category you fall into, we are here to help and advise you.
When are statutory wills needed?
There are many reasons for making a statutory will, the most obvious being that no will currently exists.
However, even when a will does exist, it may have to be replaced if the testator’s circumstances have changed significantly.
For example, the estate may have increased in value as the result of a compensation claim, or it may have decreased due to the cost of care; one of the beneficiaries named in the will may have died, or an asset, specified as a gift in the current will, may have been sold to pay for care – in which case the will may need to be changed to compensate the specified legatee.
Statutory will application forms require information about anyone likely to be materially affected by a change to the will or by the drawing up of a statutory will. This includes:
- any beneficiary under an existing will or codicil who is likely to be materially or adversely affected by an application to change the will,
- any beneficiary under a proposed will or codicil who is likely to be materially or adversely affected by the application,
- any prospective beneficiary under any intestacy of the person to whom the application relates.
At Anglia Research we are aware of the sensitive nature of statutory will research, and we are used to conducting our investigations without making contact with any of the relevant parties.
We can provide you with the genealogical evidence you need to fill out the family details section of the form, as well as with the current contact details for any existing or prospective beneficiaries likely to be affected by the application.
We employ more accredited genealogists* than any other UK probate research company. As a result, you can be assured that our work is accurate and presented in the form the court prefers, saving you time and money.
Learn more about our work
Sometimes deputies or attorneys apply to change a will on a client’s behalf because the value of the client’s estate has changed dramatically.
This was the case with Sarah Whaites. Her estate had been significantly reduced due to the cost of her care following a serious accident, and the will that she had made 30 years earlier had to be changed to reflect this.
One of the beneficiaries named in the original will was Jane Smith, a name that none of Sarah’s family had heard of.
At Anglia Research we pride ourselves on our ability to find current contact details for people named in wills made long ago and whose names mean nothing to close family members.
When I took the case on, I started from the premise that if Sarah’s family did not know Jane, she must have been a friend of her youth, either through school, work, a social club, or because she was a neighbour.
Fortunately, Sarah had spent much of her early life at one address, so I turned to the electoral rolls to see who lived nearby. There was a Smith family next door, and genealogical research showed that they had a daughter Jane – too young to be on the electoral roll, but of a similar age to Sarah.
I tracked Jane down through her marriage and other records. Sarah’s deputy was happy for me to make contact, and it turned out that the two women had been best friends at school but had lost contact with each other in their late teens. As a result, the solicitor was able to negotiate with Jane to change the bequest so that a new statutory will could be drawn up that better reflected the size of the estate.
Bill Johnson was under a deputyship order and lived in a care home. Although he had never made a will, he wanted to leave his estate to the Army Benevolent Fund because army charities had helped look after him.
Since this had long been his stated aim, his deputy (who was a solicitor) decided to make a statutory will respecting his wishes.
To do this, the deputy had to identify Bill’s nearest kin, who would be his prospective beneficiaries if he died intestate. It was known that Bill had been married and his wife had died without having children, but Bill insisted that he had been married twice. No one knew anything about this second wife. Although Bill was visited every few months by a noticeably tall lady, she was believed to be a cousin.
I was instructed to establish whether or not Bill had married twice and to provide his family tree, along with contact details for all his cousins.
My research established that Bill had married only once and that he had 23 cousins. More importantly, in terms of the statutory will, I discovered that he had had three siblings, all of whom had predeceased him, and two surviving nieces – one of whom was rather tall!
The research results meant that the solicitor could focus on negotiating with Bill’s nieces, as well as being satisfied that there was no spouse likely to make a sudden appearance.
(For reasons of confidentiality, names and other identifying features have been altered.)
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