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Chambers UK January 25, 2017

Contesting a Will

The loss of a loved one and someone you relied upon materially can be devastating. This difficult time can be more stressful if you feel that your loved one has not adequately provided for you in their Will or if you become concerned that the Will may not be valid.

If this is a cause of concern that you are facing you may be able to contest the Will in question. Our expert solicitors can sensitively advise and guide you through this difficult period and complex area of law.

Upon gathering the facts of your situation our solicitors will be able to tell you whether or not you have a case to challenge / contest the Will.

Common grounds for contesting a Will:

You may be able to contest a Will based on the following grounds:

  • Uncertainty over the validity of the Will – Contesting a Will because of discrepancies or irregularities in the way it was prepared or signed.
  • Lack of testamentary capacity – A document can be challenged or disputed on the basis that the document was never intended by the deceased to be a Will
  •  Lack of knowledge and approval – A Will can be opposed because the deceased did not understand and approve the Will
  • Undue influence – A Will can be disputed or challenged because the deceased was improperly and unduly influenced when the Will was made
  • Forgery / fraud – A Will can be disputed or challenged if it is fraudulent or a forgery.
  • Under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975 – A Will can be contested or challenged on the ground that it excludes, or fails to make adequate provision for, certain categories of people who feel they ought to have been provided for in the Will.
  • Contradicting a previous promise –  A Will can be disputed or challenged because it contradicts a promise or commitment that the deceased made about the Will before passing away.

How long do you have to contest a will?

For claims under the 1975 Act, six months is the primary time limit for contesting a will from the date of the grant of representation, but we would suggest that you seek advice on challenging / contesting a will from one of our probate lawyers as soon as possible after the date of death. There may also need to be other urgent steps to be taken to protect your position.

If the time period has lapsed in which you can contest the will it is still worth contacting us to find out whether or not there is anything we can do for you.

Bringing or defending probate proceedings

These sorts of claims are increasing in number. A claim may be necessary if the PRs are not behaving appropriately or if, say, one of the beneficiaries refuses to vacate an estate property or hand over estate assets. It may be necessary to apply to the court to remove a PR or the PRs may have to deal with a claim for proprietary or promissory estoppel.

Specialist legal advice is necessary in all such circumstances.

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