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Key areas to be aware of when contesting a Will

Dealing with grief is difficult enough and the addition of a Will dispute makes this much harder and can be traumatic.

It is vital to get the right guidance if you believe there are grounds for contesting a Will.

Can a Will be contested?

A Will’s validity can be contested but success is by no means guaranteed.   It is better to do so as early as possible and preferably before Probate has been granted allowing for a caveat, to be entered at the Probate Registry, if applicable..    A caveat lasts for six months and can be renewed.

Contesting a Will after probate has been granted is possible but can be costly and require additional legal advice.

Some of the more common areas for contesting a Will include:

Failure to comply with formalities

A Will must be written and signed in the presence of two witnesses, neither of whom can benefit from the Will , to be a valid document. If there is evidence that any of these conditions have not been met, it will be possible to contest the Will.

Testamentary capacity

This is a legal term used to describe a person’s legal and mental ability to make or alter a Will and if they understand the significance of what they are doing and what the consequences to their estate will be.

It has become one of the most common circumstances for contesting a Will, largely due to the increasing number of dementia diagnoses among the elderly.

Undue coercion or influence

If you believe a loved one has been put under pressure when writing their Will to include clauses they may not otherwise have done, they may have been unduly influenced or co-erced and so a challenge can be made

Financial maintenance for dependents

Another common cause of a contested Will is when someone, a dependent, believes the Will does not make adequate provisions for them.

An individual who was financially dependent on the deceased when they died, for example, would be a child or spouse, a civil partner, an ex-spouse or ex-civil partner who is yet to remarry, or a cohabiting partner.

Doubts over legitimacy or fraud

A Will can be challenged if there are doubts over the legitimacy of either the Will or a signature – for example, if either were forged.

How much does it cost to contest a Will?

This varies on a case-to-case basis and lots of factors can affect costs – some cases are able to be settled without the need for proceedings to be issued whereas other may need determination by the court if settlement cannot be negotiated direct by the parties.

For help and advice when dealing with civil disputes, contact our expert team today.

Mander Hadley

Mander Hadley Solicitors is not only a long established firm, but is vibrant and successful, with a forward thinking approach.