A Guide to Contesting a Will in the UK
When a person makes a Last Will & Testament, this legally binding document is the basis for distributing their estate in the event of their passing, yet there are many occasions when a family member feels they have been unfairly treated in a loved one’s will, and in such cases, it is possible to legally contest the said will. There are a number of reasons why a person might wish to contest a will, and we will examine them in this article.
Mental Incapacity – If a family member feels that the deceased was not of sound mind at the time of making the will – or amending the document – they can lodge a formal dispute. In such a case, it is essential to seek experienced legal assistance, and with a simple Google search, you should be able to bring up a list of local will dispute lawyers, and once you have made contact, the law firm would be happy to listen to your side of things and give you their expert opinion on whether you should proceed or not.
Undue Influence – In the event a family member thinks that undue influence was used on the deceased at the time of creating – or amending – the will, this is also grounds to dispute a will. It is not unusual for one family member to be promised an asset, yet when the times comes for the deceased person’s will to be read, they are not mentioned. Of course, it is possible that the deceased person changed their mind regarding who they bequeath a specific asset to, but if you were left out of a family member’s will and feel this was due to another person’s undue influence, you can dispute the will.
Invalid Will Execution – The executor is a person appointed by the will creator to distribute the deceased person’s estate according to the written instructions, and in the event a beneficiary feels the executor is not acting in line with the deceased person’s instructions, it is possible to contest the will.
Inadequate Provisions – If a family member is of the opinion that the contents of the will does not adequately provide for their needs, they can take legal steps to contest the will. It might be that the family member has ongoing medical expenses, or has not yet completed their formal education, but whatever the reason, it is important to seek legal advice when disputing a will.
In order to dispute a will, you would be a spouse, civil partner, cohabitee, child, or be financially dependent on the deceased, and with the help of an experienced wills and probate lawyer, you can put together a strong case to challenge the will. In the event a person dies without leaving a will, UK law stipulates that the estate be distributed according to the Rules of Intestacy, which are very outdated laws that are very rigid in their application.
If, for any reason, you would like to dispute a will, talk to an experienced wills & probate lawyer, who can offer some excellent advice and help you to achieve a favourable outcome.