There are many reasons why someone may feel that a Will is unfair or wrong.
In the UK we enjoy a freedom to leave our estates by Will to whoever we please.
However, there are occasions when a Will may be challenged:
Claims under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975
Certain categories of individuals can make a claim against an estate for reasonable financial provision in circumstances where someone on whom they are financially dependent has died without leaving them a sufficient inheritance for their needs.
Claims can be made regardless of whether a Will exists or not as a successful claim will result in the court changing the way an estate is distributed.
What is considered to be ‘reasonable provision’ will vary depending on the circumstances of the case but in order to decide this a court will consider:
In accordance with section 9 of the Wills Act 1837, for a Will to be valid it must be:
If the correct procedures have not been followed, then a challenge to the Will’s validity can be made.
Lack of mental capacity
When making a Will an individual should:
A challenge to the validity of a Will can be made if the deceased lacked the mental capacity necessary to make a Will.
If it is considered an individual has been coerced or compelled into making a Will that they did not want to make then a challenge to the Will’s validity can be made.
What amounts to coercion varies and will depend on the individual making the Will. By way of example, there is less force in coercing an individual considered to be vulnerable, frail or elderly.
What should I do if I believe I have grounds to contest a Will?
If you believe you have grounds to contest a Will, our contentious probate Solicitors will be able to provide advice and, if there are grounds, we can help you formally challenge a Will.
Lorraine Walker, a Solicitor specialising in contentious probate at Mander Hadley, said: “A claim under the Inheritance Act must be made within 6 months from the date of issue of the grant of probate.
“We recommend contacting us as soon as possible upon learning you have not been properly provided for under a Will or the intestacy rules.
“There is no time limit to make a claim disputing the validity of a Will but we recommend contacting us as quickly as possible and preferably before estate assets have been distributed. Claims may be rejected by the court if it considers there has been undue delay in bringing a claim.”
To help you find out more about contesting a Will, Lorraine has recorded a new podcast on the topic, which is available to listen to here for free.
For further information and advice about contested Wills, please get in touch with us.
Mander Hadley Solicitors is not only a long established firm, but is vibrant and successful, with a forward thinking approach.
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