Contesting a will
Dealing with will disputes and challenging intestacy
Coping with bereavement is already a challenging experience, but it can become even more stressful when you have concerns or doubts regarding the validity of the deceased’s will or if they did not leave a will at all. While court proceedings are not typically desirable, there are situations where they become necessary, and that’s where we can provide assistance.
In general, a person has the freedom to distribute their assets and wealth as they wish through a properly executed will. The wishes outlined in a will are usually respected. However, when no will exists, the estate is divided according to intestacy rules.
Nevertheless, there are circumstances in which it is possible to challenge a will or intestacy:
- Improperly made wills: If a will has not been executed correctly (e.g., not properly< signed) or is a product of fraud, it can be challenged.
- Undue influence: If someone exerted pressure on the deceased to include specific terms. or benefit certain individuals, the will can be challenged on grounds of undue influence.
- Lack of capacity: Wills made by individuals who lacked the mental capacity to do so (e.g., due to dementia) can be contested.
Additionally, under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975, it is possible to make a claim against an estate (regardless of whether a will exists) if the will or intestacy rules fail to provide reasonable financial provision. For example, if you are a cohabitee who received nothing under the intestacy rules or if you were previously financially dependent on the deceased.
- The deceased’s spouse/civil partner.
- The deceased’s former spouse/civil partner and you have not subsequently remarried or formed a new civil partnership.
- A cohabitee for 2 years or more up to the date of death.
- A child of the deceased.
- Anyone treated as a child of the deceased (e.g. a stepchild).
- Anyone being financially maintained by the deceased.
These types of cases require the expertise of specialist solicitors. We possess in-depth knowledge of the law and extensive experience handling various scenarios. Our approach is approachable and friendly, recognising the immense stress that litigation in these circumstances can cause. We work closely with you to achieve the best possible outcome.
If you would like further guidance on any of the above, or wish to instruct a Solicitor, please get in touch.
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