Will Disputes - How Do I Challenge a Will?

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Julian Cole

Senior Solicitor

Phone 01264 353411

Email jcole@bsandi.co.uk

There are a number of circumstances under which a will could be contested and these may include that the maker of the Will ( the Testator), lacked mental capacity.  Undue influence may have been placed on the Testator which will render the Will invalid or the Testator may have not known or approved of the contents of the Will.

A further area of challenge could be if the Will does not comply with the necessary formalities under the Wills Act 1837. Grounds for a challenge may come from the use of DIY Wills or where unqualified writers have prepared the Will.

There may be a later Will revoking an earlier Will and full investigations will need to be made to confirm whether this is the case.

Sadly, there can also be Wills which have been procured by fraud or the Testator may have been deceived into entering into the Will, which would provide further grounds for contesting the Will.

Finally, even if the Will cannot be contested on any of the above grounds, statutory law provides protection to the financial dependents of the Testator, where the Will has failed to provide adequate financial provision for them.  An application can then be made to the Court which will, in effect, rewrite the terms of the Will, allowing the  Court to assess what provision the dependent should receive from the Deceased’s Estate.

A Court case in respect of contesting a Will can involve substantial legal costs.  It is for this reason that increasing numbers of Will disputes are resolved by mediation, which can significantly reduce the costs involved in the dispute and thereby avoid the situation, as in the fictional case of Jarndyce v Jarndyce in Bleak House, where the entire Estate of the Deceased was swallowed up by legal costs.

If you require any advice on the above matters, please contact Julian Cole on 01264 325805, via email: jcole@bsandi.co.uk or via our no-obligation, online enquiry form.

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