Often, Wills are written late in a person’s life, or at a time when they really lacked the mental capacity to do so. This means that relatives may want to dispute a Will; especially if they have been left out of their loved ones Will or they feel it doesn’t reflect their true intentions. Alternatively, some may wish to claim that an asset included in the estate is theirs, or the Will doesn’t reflect a promise that had been made.
When can a Will be challenged?
There are a number of grounds that are available from which to challenge a will, including:
- The Will was signed by someone other than the person making the Will
- The Will wasn’t properly executed to legal requirements
- The person making the Will lacked the testamentary capacity to do so
- The person making the Will was unaware of the contents included
- Undue duress or influence was placed upon the person making the Will
There is also a defined list of applicants who can challenge the Will, if reasonable provision has not been made.
You may need to take quick action to protect assets in the estate, from any point after death any executors of the Will can apply for a grant of probate. In most cases, this means that the assets will be distributed to named beneficiaries in the Will. If there is a grant of probate, it isn’t too late to act, but acting sooner is better.
If a promise is not fulfilled in a Will, you may be able to dispute the Will to fulfil the promise. Similarly, if you paid for an asset in the name of the deceased, but it actually belongs to you, you may be be able to recover it from the estate. You can also contact your solicitor if you’re concerned about the manner is which the estate is being handled.
You probably won’t need to go to court
You will only need to go to court if the case is brought to trial. If you wish to settle before trial, you will need to sit down with the other parties involved for a meeting or mediation. If the case goes to trial, you will almost definitely have to go to court and give verbal evidence, as will all other witnesses.
Be aware of ‘No Contest’ clauses
A no contest, or Forfeiture, clause states that a beneficiary will forfeit any inheritance is they challenge the Will. If you’re a beneficiary of a Will, you should always look for this before challenging a Will. If you are unsuccessful, you will lose your legacy. However, if your claim is successful, the clause doesn’t apply.
If you want more information on how to contest a Will and understand the process involved, please contact our Wills and Probate department. Alternatively, give us a call on 01375 898 872 for the information you need.