There are times when relatives or interested parties may want to contest a Will because they feel it does not reflect the wishes of the deceased. Sometimes there are disagreements in the family, rivalries or issues that emerge through lack of communication.
Challenging a Will is demanding and expensive and it is important to obtain good legal advice. If you are successful the Will is declared invalid and the next most recent Will stands in its place. If there is no such Will the rules of intestacy will apply.
You can contest a Will if you have reason to believe that there may be something amiss with it, but not if you are just unhappy with the amount of your inheritance. There are various reasons why a Will may be challenged. Some of the most common reasons are as follows:
- Lack of formal validity and due execution
- Lack of testamentary capacity
- Undue Influence
- Lack of knowledge and approval
- Proprietary estoppel
All of these reasons are explained in more detail here.
If you wish to argue that not enough was set aside for you in a Will given your financial dependency and the nature of your relationship with the deceased, you could make a claim under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975.
Contentious Probate, as Contesting a Will is also called, is becoming more common. It is very important therefore, when making your Will, to make sure that you get good advice so that your Will cannot, once you are no longer here, be contested for any of the reasons mentioned above.
However, if you do need advice in this area, the TSP Dispute Resolution team led by Sharon Auton can advise you on the best course of action. Sharon can be contacted on 01206 217043 or by email at Sharon.firstname.lastname@example.org. Sharon is a member of the Association of Contentious Trust and Probate Specialists (ACTAPS)
In addition to the rise in contentious probate, the abuse of Lasting Powers of Attorney is also on the rise. Sharon has written an article on the subject which details what to look out for if you think someone is abusing their power. You can read the article here. Sharon can help with type of enquiry also and can be contacted as above.