The UK’s Trusted Probate Specialists
Essentially, there are four main ways of contesting a will :-
For a will to be valid it must be signed, dated and witnessed by at least two witnesses. Despite this relatively simple task, there are often many cases in which wills are not signed correctly or witnessed. For example, were both witnesses present at the same time as the signing of the will ? just because a will appears valid on the face of it doesn’t necessarily mean the will is valid.
We see lots of cases in which wills are changed very close to someone’s death often to a non-family member. Typically, undue influence has arisen through a variety of ways, for example, the threat of a withdrawl of care or support to an elderly person, coercion this can be verbally, or an actual threat or in some cases actually blackmail.
Proving undue influence isn`t easy and the onus falls upon the person alleging the case to prove it. This can be evidenced through, letters, emails, social media posts, or maybe evidence from family and friends.
Like all disputes, undue influence cases tend to be very subjective to the particular facts of each case.
The Testator Did have the capacity to make a will
Just as there are formalities to make a will, there are strict rules on the mental capacity of the person making the will, who must actually understand he/she is making a will, the effects of making the will, the assets they have and the beneficiaries who could benefit or exclude.
Often obtaining medical records is key, was the deceased suffering from dementia or alzheimers, when the will was made ?
Lack of financial provision in the will
If you have been left out of a will, and fall with the category of claimants, you maybe able to make a claim under what is known as the Inheritance Act 1975. This allows a claim to made for reasonable financial provision, if it can be shown that provision should have been left for the claimant or that the claimant was financially dependant upon the Deceased.
The rules on who can claim, are restricted to persons, such as the children of the deceased, a wife, children of the Deceased or someone treated as a child of the Deceased, or a person who was living with the Deceased for 2 years or more.
Make your claim in time : important time limits
If you need advice or simply want to talk through your concerns about a will, feel free to contact us for an initial discussion, by contacting Tim Murden who heads our contested probate team, on 01482 429985 or by mailing email@example.com.