If you are the Executor of your parents will and also a beneficiary, what happens if one of your siblings has been left out of the will, can they contest your late parents estate ?
The starting point is that most common will disputes arise from blood relatives challenging wills, you can read about who can contest a will be reading this article we previously wrote, here. What is always important to appreciate is that there must be a legal basis to contest a will, disappointment or simply being a a daughter or son is not in itself a legal reason to contest a will. If one of your Siblings is unhappy with a will, it is often sensible to provide a copy of the will if requested. Whilst there is often a reluctance to do this, delaying providing a copy of a will simply leads to animosity or the entry of a caveat this prevents probate.
Providing a copy of the will
Typically, if you provide a copy of a will, it is likely that the solicitor who prepared a copy of the will will need to provide a statement addressing the background of the will and the circumstances surrounding the drafting of the will, particularly if a son or daughter has been left out of a will. The solicitor acting for the sibling left out will often want to review medical records if issues as to capacity of the testator are in question.
If the will is valid, and there are no issues as the validity of the will, capacity of the testator, or undue influence how else can the will be contested ?
Common grounds to contest a will
The most common ground to dispute a will from a blood relative is under the Inheritance Act 1975, this enables a blood relative to make a claim to the Court reasonable financial provision if it can be shown that the Claimant fulfills certain criteria laid down under the Act. Issues often relevant are whether the deceased provided financial support, the needs of the claimant, whether any of the parties have a disability, and the size of the estate. Making a claim is not easy and there are strict time limits applying which means that any claim must be made within 6 months of the date of the grant of probate being.
Defending claims made against a will/estate
If you have found out that a relative maybe contesting a will, and would like advice on the potential claim, please call Tim Murden on 01482 429985 or e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org