Losing a family member is never easy, and it can be especially difficult when it comes to handling their assets and distributing them fairly.
If you have concerns about the validity of the Will, it’s completely understandable to want to ensure that your loved one’s wishes are being carried out properly.
We intend to provide you with some clarity on the process of contesting a Will in the UK and whether it may be a helpful option for you.
It’s important to know that it is possible to contest a Will, but it’s also important to recognize that the outcome is not guaranteed.
However, it’s a difficult and emotional process, and we’re here to help you navigate through it with care and support.
Who can challenge a Will?
While it is possible for anyone to challenge a Will, it is important to have a valid reason for doing so.
If you believe that a Will l has failed to make reasonable financial provision, you may be able to challenge it as a financial dependent, but only if you are a child, spouse, civil partner, ex-spouse or ex-civil partner who has not remarried, or a cohabiting partner.
It’s important to keep in mind that even if the court rules the Will invalid, there is no guarantee that you will receive anything from the estate.
The court usually distributes the estate according to the most recent valid version of the Will, so you may only receive something if you were named in that version. If there are no surviving family members, the estate may go to the Crown.
Grounds for Challenge
In England and Wales, there are various legal grounds for contesting a Will that you will need to consider.
One of the legal points considered when contesting at Will is testamentary capacity, which refers to a person’s legal and mental ability to make or alter a valid Will.
If the person making the Will lacked capacity at the time it was executed, the Will is likely to be invalid.
It can be challenging to determine testamentary capacity, but with the right legal advice and support, it may be possible to demonstrate a lack of capacity.
Another legal ground for contesting a Will is undue influence or coercion, which can occur when the testator is pressured or coerced into changing their wishes.
There are sometimes tell-tale signs of undue influence, such as a homemade Will with no professional advice sought, spelling mistakes, or language that the testator would not have used or understood.
Lack of knowledge and approval is another reason why a Will may be contested. This can happen when there is a mistake made in the Will or when the testator lacks knowledge of the will-making process.
We will work with you to understand the details of your situation and help you navigate this process with empathy and support so that you can challenge a Will.
It is generally best to contest a Will as early in the process as possible. While it is technically possible to contest a Will after probate has been granted, it can be a complicated and costly process that may require additional legal advice.
Additionally, the longer the process is delayed, the greater the chances that the deceased’s assets will have already been distributed or the evidence required to contest the Will is no longer available.
If you feel the need to contest a Will and need independent legal advice our compassionate experts are here to help. To find out more, please contact us.