At GL Law our team of specialist Inheritance Dispute solicitors offer expertise in all aspects of contesting a Will. You can be assured that we will guide you through the process and advise you on how to achieve the best possible outcome.
How can we help?
Inheritance Dispute Solicitors
Our Inheritance Dispute solicitors understand how emotive these matters can be. We actively work to minimise the stress and financial implications of the case, providing realistic advice every step of the way.
If you are concerned about an inheritance issue, we can help. Below you will find answers to some commonly asked questions about contesting a Will and inheritance disputes. If you are ready to talk to a solicitor now, please contact our friendly team for an initial no obligation discussion by calling 0117 906 9400 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
What happens when a Will is contested?
When a person has died, the only people who are able to see the Will are the executors and they will usually need to apply for a Grant of Probate. This is a legal document which confirms that the executor has the power to deal with the deceased person’s assets and confirming that the person named on it is entitled to deal with the estate, i.e. collect all the assets, pay all liabilities and debts of the estate and distribute the net balance to entitled beneficiaries). The Grant will be issued by the Probate Registry and once it has been issued, it is a public document.
Anyone can ask to see the Will of someone once the Grant has been issued. If once you have seen a copy of the will you are unhappy and you feel that an inheritance has been affected, then you can challenge the Will in several ways.
I don’t think the Will is 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 the will has not been signed properly, then you may be able to challenge it.
I don’t think the person who made the Will had mental capacity when they wrote the Will
If the person who made the Will had an illness when they died, for example dementia, when they made the Will, then they may not have understood what they were doing when they wrote the Will. It will be necessary to show that they lacked the appropriate mental capacity to prepare and sign a will.
I think someone was putting pressure on the person who made the Will
You might feel that someone put undue pressure or influence on the person who made the Will and that the Will does not really look like the Will that would be written without that influence?
I don’t think the person who made the Will understood what they were signing
Sometimes, documents are signed that have not been read properly or not understood. If you think that this is correct, you can challenge the Will on the grounds that the person who made the Will did not have ‘knowledge or approval’.
I was financially dependent on the person who has died but I have not been left anything
It is possible under the terms of the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975 for certain people to make a claim against an estate after death. Specialist inheritance dispute solicitors can help you understand the implications of your individual circumstances.
Who can make a claim?
There are certain people who can make a claim against an estate, such as a disappointed spouse or child. If you are unsure if you are one of those people, we can help you.
Once you know if you can make a claim, to be successful in your claim you will need to show that a Will fails to make “reasonable financial provision” for you, for example if a spouse / civil partner makes a claim on a estate, it means such financial provision as it would be reasonable in all the circumstances for a spouse/civil partner to receive. This means their claim is not limited to just what they need for their day to day living expenses.
In the case of any other applicant, it means such financial provision as it would be reasonable in all the circumstances for the applicant to receive for his or her maintenance. This is a lower standard than the one that applies to spouses and civil partners; any financial award will be designed to cover day to day expenses.
I am concerned that someone has made a Will but I am not allowed to see it or I think it has been destroyed
You can use the Probate Registry Online Search facility to find out if a relative left a Will. If there isn’t a Will, the Probate Registry can also let you know if someone is trying to deal with your relative’s estate.
What can I do if there is no Will?
If someone dies without making a Will, they are said to have died ‘intestate. This means that the options of challenging a Will are not available to you, but you have grounds for one of the other claims and here at GL Law we can help you.
Are there any time limits that may affect my ability to contest a Will?
This depends on the type of claim you are looking to bring. Some claims have time limits as short as 6 months after a Grant is obtained from the Probate Registry. It is important to seek legal advice as soon as possible to understand and protect your position.
I am an Executor and I am involved in a dispute about the deceased’s estate.
We can advise you how to continue dealing with an estate if such a claim is brought against the estate by a disappointed beneficiary. Cases of undue influence can be difficult to prove, but we can look into your case to see if it is worth taking further.
Stepping down as an Executor
If you’ve been appointed as an Executor under a will and you don’t want to take on the role, you can choose to ‘step down’ – known as renouncing. You should decide early on if you want to act and this may be particularly important if the will is going to be challenged or there is a family dispute. Once you have stepped down you will have given up all your Executor responsibilities.
However, if you have ‘intermeddled’ with the estate – such as starting to sort out the finances and paying debts, then you will not be able to renounce because you will be considered as already actively taking on the Executor role. If you have already taken out the grant of probate, then you will not be able to renounce.
How can a Will be challenged?
There are several ways people can challenge a will. Some of the most common challenges are set out below:
- The Will is not valid
- The person who made the Will lacked mental capacity to make a Will.
- Someone was pressurising the person to make changes to their Will before they died
- The person who made the Will did not understand what they were signing.
- Someone was financial dependent at on the person who died and has not been left anything?
- Someone was made a promise by the person who died that they would be looked after
Specialist Inheritance Dispute Solicitors
At GL Law our team of specialist solicitors offer expertise in all aspects of inheritance disputes. If you are concerned about an inheritance issue, we can help. If you are ready to talk to a solicitor, please contact our friendly team for an initial no obligation discussion by calling 0117 906 9400 or email email@example.com
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