Who Can Contest a Will? Grounds to contest a will
If you need help contesting a will or initial advice on whether you have a case contact us now on 0845 568 4000
The rules governing contested probate claims are very complex, however perhaps the most frequently asked question is just who can contest a will?
Typically we find that the following persons make claims against estates:
Family Members – blood line relatives.
Typically, most wills are contested by family members, who (unless there is an earlier will) seek to overturn a will and argue that the Intestacy Rules will apply.
Being a blood line family member can be very important, particularly under the Inheritance Act, which specifically lists those persons entitled to claim, e.g. a spouse or child of the deceased etc.
Someone who was financially dependant on the Deceased.
If you were financially reliant upon the Deceased you can still contest a will, under the Inheritance Act this allows someone who has been financially ‘maintained by the Deceased’ to claim eg. the deceased may have provided accommodation or helped financially, or that it was unreasonable for the will not to have left provision.
The time limits are very strict on these types of case at just 6 months from the date of when probate has been issued.
A beneficiary under the will or an earlier will
If you are beneficiary who has not received your inheritance due to the failure of the executors you can make a Claim against the estate on the ground that the executor maybe acting unreasonably, in failing to distribute the estate. Alternatively, if you are a beneficiary under an earlier will you would be entitled to claim.
Someone who is owed Money – debt claims
If you are owed money you can make a claim against an estate. It is important to check to see if a section 27 Notice has been issued seeking creditors to make a claim against an estate.
Someone who was promised something by the Deceased
The Courts are increasingly recognising claims when it can be showed that the Deceased promised or gave an assurance to the Claimant, which was heavily relied upon ( to the detriment ) of the Claimant. We have recently acted in several cases when assurances have been made by the Deceased, see our contesting a will case studies by clicking here
Obtain a Copy of the will & probate
When considering contesting a will, it is always important to obtain an actual copy of the grant of probate or letters of administration as this will contain the actual date as to when probate was issued. You can obtain this online from the probate registry. The grant of probate will show, the name of the executor, their solicitors, the last known address of the deceased, and the net/gross value of the estate. The date of probate is important as many limitation dates start from when probate is issued.