We specialise in dealing with contested Wills.
To find out more please contact us on 0800 84 94 101
There are a number of grounds on which you can contest a Will. Due to the increase in people preparing their Wills themselves, it is becoming more frequent for people to pass away leaving a Will which does not reflect their wishes or comply with the criteria for a valid Will.
You can contest a Will if you believe it is invalid or if it fails to provide financial provision for someone who was supported by the testator.
Can I contest a Will by making an Inheritance Act claim?
If a Will fails to make adequate financial provision for a spouse, partner, child, or dependant of the deceased they can bring a claim under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975. If a claim under the Act is successful, the Will remains valid, but the court can vary the provisions of the Will to provide for the Claimant.
Can I contest a Will on the basis that it is invalid?
There are numerous ways in which a Will can be invalid. If one of these grounds applies you can contest the validity of the Will and have it declared as invalid by the court.
In the event that the validity of a Will is successfully challenged then an earlier Will may take effect. If there is no earlier Will then the intestacy rules would apply so it is important to consider this at the outset. It is unlikely to be cost effective to challenge a Will if the outcome would not be in your favour.
The first consideration would be whether there are any procedural irregularities.
Contesting a Will due to dementia or mental capacity
One of the most common grounds for contesting a Will is on the basis of mental capacity. A testator must have had sufficient mental capacity at the time the Will was made. Establishing that the testator lacked capacity is complex and often requires a careful review of medical evidence. There are various legal tests which apply, and it is important to consider that just because the testator was suffering from a condition such as dementia at the time the Will was made this does not necessarily mean that they did not have capacity.
Was the Will witnessed and signed correctly, without coercion?
If someone was compelled or coerced into signing their Will, they may have been subject to undue influence. This is another ground upon which a Will can be challenged. Evidence of this would be required to convince a court that the testator did not make the Will through their own initiative.
Other grounds for contesting a Will include fraud and forgery and lack of knowledge and approval.
If you would like more information in relation to the above or are considering challenging a Will, we are happy to help.