June 28, 2024

What are the grounds for contesting a Will?

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Can you contest a will?

There are reasons why someone may wish to contest a will. You can always contact the team to explain your situation and know more about your options.

The Will might not be valid

To be valid, a Will must be in writing, be signed by the person making it, and be witnessed and signed by two other people. If you think a loved one’s Will doesn’t meet these criteria, then it might not be valid. There are other reasons why Wills might be declared invalid as well – our team can listen to your concerns and give you expert advice.

There was mental incapacity when the Will was written or amended

If a loved one suffers from dementia or some other illness affecting their mental ability, they might not be able to make decisions about their own affairs. If they made a Will during this time, you have every right to be worried. We can make investigations into their mental capacity at the time and provide you with advice about contesting the Will.

You feel someone was exerting undue influence

You might feel that someone put undue pressure on a loved one when they were making their Will. If so, you want to be sure that person doesn’t affect your own inheritance. Cases of undue influence can be difficult to prove, but we can look into your case to see if it is worth taking further.

Your loved one might not have known what they were signing

It’s all too easy to sign something without reading it properly. You may believe that your loved one signed a Will without fully understanding the contents or whom it benefits or excludes.

How long will the dispute last?

Some can last just a few weeks, but others may, unfortunately, take many months to resolve. Whatever your circumstances, we take an active approach and look for practical solutions to help settle a case as quickly as possible. We’ll treat every case as sensitively and efficiently as possible, always focusing on the best interests of our clients. By aiming to settle your case well before trial, we’ll hopefully save you time, stress and money.

How much will the dispute cost and how will it be funded?

Once we have considered your case we can provide you with advice about the anticipated costs and the options of funding that are available. Your funding options may include:

  • Funding the costs yourself
  • funding the costs through your legal expenses insurer
  • funding through a “no win no fee” agreement

Whatever your situation, we’ll make sure to keep you fully informed every step of the way. We try and settle just about every case before it comes to trial, which keeps costs to a minimum and ensures you have as much control over any agreement reached as possible.

Are there any time limits that may affect my ability to contest a Will?

The time limits that may affect your claim will depend on the type of claim you are looking to bring. Some claims have strict time limits, which may be as short as 6 months after a Grant is obtained from the Probate Registry. However, even if your claim is not subject to a strict time limit, you will want to make sure that the property you are claiming against remains safe and secure. For this reason, whatever the nature of your claim, we recommend getting in touch with us as soon as possible to protect your position.

What should I do if I think a relative has left a Will, but someone is withholding it from me?

If you’re worried that someone is keeping information about a Will from you, or not letting you see it, we can take action for you. If you’ve already searched for the Will at the Probate Registry then we can apply to the court to make the person concerned produce a copy – or come to court to provide further information.

I’m worried about a loved one’s Will. Can I stop someone taking out a Grant to deal with the estate?

Yes. If you’re concerned about the contents of a Will you can enter what’s called a ‘caveat’ at the Probate Registry. This will stop the Grant being taken out unless you’re consulted first. It gives you time to look into your concerns about the Will before the estate is dealt with.

Will I have to go to court if I’m contesting a Will?

Generally, you won’t have to go to court. We focus on negotiation and mediation to hopefully settle matters long before they have to go to trial. Negotiation is a quicker and more cost-effective way to deal with disputes.

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Other relevant services

Contesting a Will
You may be concerned that a Will left by a loved one doesn’t reflect what they would have wanted. Whatever disputes you face, we have an expert team who can help you to contest a Will with sensitivity and tact.
Defending a Will
You may be the beneficiary of a Will, but are facing accusations from family members that the will was not valid and that you should not receive what you believe is rightly yours.
Property inheritance disputes
Sometimes a relative can leave a Will that doesn’t tally with what you think is fair. We have expertise and experience of dealing with all aspects of trust disputes and can guide you through the complexities that may arise.
Inheritance Act claims
Perhaps you feel you haven’t been left a fair share in a Will, or you may have been left out of it entirely. In situations like this, our expert Inheritance Act claims team can help you restore the balance.
Farming inheritance disputes
Farms and agricultural land are often involved in inheritance disputes. Unfortunately the disputes are often complicated further by the emotional strain of a farm being run as family enterprise.
Court of Protection and attorney disputes
At what is a difficult time, matters can be made worse if you're concerned that a person taking advantage of your loved one, or if a person appointed to manage their financial affairs isn't doing so properly.
Trust disputes
We have experience dealing with all aspects of trust disputes and can guide you through complexities that may arise. Our team can understand complex family trust arrangements and help resolve disputes to protect your wealth.

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