If you want to contest a will, there are several factors you need to consider before taking your disputes to the courts.
While this certainly should not dissuade you from choosing to contest a will, you should be aware of the grounds upon which you can contest a will before launching a legal challenge.
When should I contest a will?
The Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975 gives certain relatives the right to ask the courts to review a Will.
You can contest a will if you believe any of the following to be true:
- You believe the person making the Will may not have understood what they were signing or lacked mental capacity at that time.
- You believe the person making the will was forced or unduly influenced to sign it. You must be able to prove the deceased acted against their wishes and were coerced into making a will which they did not wish to make.
- You believe the will to be fraudulent and this can be proved, it will be ruled invalid. This may have occurred if someone impersonated the person making the will and you should obtain several handwriting samples from the deceased to prove their signature.
Depending on the grounds used to contest the Will, you may need to:
- Provide information regarding the deceased’s financial affairs and health at the time the will was created to prove the grounds upon which you bring a case
- Provide contemporaneous evidence such as letters emails, and notes to show what the deceased said to anyone about the will before or after it was created.
- Provide information regarding the deceased’s relations with their family at the time the will was prepared.
To contest a will, you should seek professional advice and appoint a solicitor to handle legal matters.
If you are interested in contesting a will or are already in a dispute over an inheritance, please get in touch.