Lost a Relative and Have Suspicions about the Legality of their Will?

Richard gregory portrait.

Richard Gregory

Consultant Solicitor

Phone 01264 353411

Email rgregory@bsandi.co.uk

The death of a family member is sometimes the beginning of complications. Aside from grief, there will be the challenge of sorting out possessions, assets, and liabilities. If the person who died had the foresight to make a Will that will become the focus of much of the family’s attention – and, in some cases, the problem.

No one would relish the thought of taking issue with a Will. After all, it reflects a person’s last wishes. But what if you think that the terms of the Will are not what were intended?

First of all, be careful not to make allegations until there is some firm basis for what you’re saying (and until you have had good legal advice about how to tackle the issue). A hunch that something is not quite right may well turn out to be correct, but you would need far more than a gut feeling in order to properly contest the Will. Establishing fraud or undue influence – two of the bases on which a Will may be challenged – is rarely easy or straightforward.  

Fraud cases tend to involve claims that the Will was forged, either outright or through amendments made to the original. A great deal of evidence – including quite often that of a forensic handwriting expert – is needed to prove fraud. It’s not something to embark on lightly.

In undue influence cases, the focus is on showing that pressure was put on someone to change their Will before they died. That person may have been old, frail and possibly of unsound mind. But those characteristics by themselves are not enough to establish undue influence. Nor would it usually be enough to say that they had been talked into changing their Will. Undue influence requires something more; it requires coercion that forces someone to do something that they don’t want to do.

If you are concerned about a loved one’s Will, talk to one of our specialist lawyers. We’ll explain what you would have to show in order to bring, and win, a successful claim. And we’ll help you go about things in the right way. An allegation that a Will – a legal document – was unlawfully interfered with is a serious charge to bring. So it’s important that you understand the evidence that you would need, and the legal tests that you would have to overcome, before acting on your suspicions.  

Speak to a member of our Litigation Team today.  You can contact them via telephone at 01264 353411, email: litigation@bsandi.co.uk or via our online enquiry form, so we can get in touch with you and assist you further.

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