There are various ways in which a Will can be challenged. Some of the common grounds for challenging a Will are:-
The validity of a Will may be challenged on the basis that the person making the Will had insufficient mental capacity to do so at the time the Will was made. If the Court is satisfied these circumstances exist the Will can be set aside.
The validity of a Will may also be challenged on the basis that the person making the Will was subject to undue influence (i.e. coercion/pressure) by another to make the provisions they did in their Will. Again, if the Court is satisfied these circumstances exist the Will can be set aside.
Knowledge and approval
A person making a Will must know about and approve the contents of their Will. The validity of a Will may be challenged on the basis that the person making the Will did not know about or approve the contents of their Will.
In order for a Will to be valid it must be executed properly. There are certain formalities which must be followed for the valid execution of a Will. If these formalities are not followed the validity of the Will can be challenged.
Inadequate Financial Provision – Inheritance Act claims
Where a person dies having not made reasonable financial provision for their relatives or dependents the law allows those relatives or dependents to make a claim against the deceased’s estate. There are a number of persons (i.e. claimants) eligible to make a claim including the spouse or civil partner of the deceased, a child of the deceased and a person who immediately before the death of the deceased was being maintained by the deceased. This list is not exhaustive. The Court will take into account a number of factors when deciding a claim and can change the terms of a Will to make proper provision for the claimant. A claim can still be made even if there is not a Will.
There are strict time limits for making this type of claim. It is therefore important you obtain legal advice without delay.
There are other grounds on which a Will can be challenged. These include:
- Disputes over the construction/meaning of a clause in a Will
- Mistakes in a Will – this can sometimes give rise to a claim against the person who drafted the Will
- Fraud or Forgery
- Trust disputes (e.g. someone claims they have an interest in the deceased’s property)
How we can help
We can advise you on all of the above issues. Whether you are the person contesting the Will or whether you are an Executor and someone else is contesting the Will, we can advise you on your rights and can help you through this process. Hart Reade pride ourselves on being approachable and building excellent and trusting relationships with clients. Our solicitors understand these are stressful issues and often involve complex family/emotional relationships which must be dealt with sensitively. We will always work with your best interests at heart giving clear and practical advice.
We also understand costs can be a worry for people. Please come and talk to us and we can advise you on your options with regard to costs and in some cases where agreement is reached those costs may be payable out of the estate although this is not always the case. Our aim is to provide cost effective and high quality legal advice.
If you would like more advice on these issues, please contact Jacqueline Penfold by:
- phone on 01323 727321
- email at email@example.com
- or by using the form below: