Disputing a Will
Feb 7, 2020
When a person prepares their Will, they have a legitimate expectation that the wishes they have expressed will be carried through. They will usually have thought long and hard about how they would like their assets dealt with after their death, earmarking certain possessions for family members or friends.
It is a process that we help clients work through to ensure they have provided for those that are dependent on them, and that the ‘right’ people inherit family heirlooms and benefit from money, property, shares and other assets that accumulated during the Will-maker’s lifetime.
Occasionally, a Will takes family members by surprise. Those that had expected to inherit may be left out. There may even be concerns that the person who made the Will may have been pressured into making particular decisions.
Certain categories of people are entitled to bring a legal claim disputing a Will. These include blood relatives, a spouse, and someone who had been promised something by the deceased. They will need a firm legal basis for disputing the Will, which could be:
Invalidity – There is something wrong in the way the Will was prepared. Perhaps it wasn’t properly witnessed.
Lack of capacity – There is reason to believe that the deceased didn’t know or understand what they were signing.
Undue influence – The deceased was put under pressure to make or sign the Will.
Forgery or fraudulence – The deceased’s signature was forged, or the Will was otherwise not made by him or her.
Negligence – The deceased’s lawyer didn’t properly prepare the Will.
It is also possible for an inheritance claim to be brought by someone – usually a spouse, civil partner or child - who thinks they have not been reasonably provided for under the Will.
Few people would relish disputing a Will, but there are certainly circumstances in which it is felt to be necessary. Our advice to anyone concerned about a loved one’s Will is to speak to a specialist Wills and Probate solicitor as soon as possible, as time limits apply to taking legal action. Understanding where you stand and your potential next steps is key.
To find out more about disputing a Will, contact Julian Cole on 01264 353411 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. We will be happy to help.
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