There are a range of reasons why you may consider contesting a Will or challenging an estate. It is important to appreciate that taking advice early on maximises your likelihood of a successful claim. Steps can be taken to prevent the Deceased’s estate from being distributed whilst your claim is dealt with. That is not to say your claim will definitely fail if the estate has been distributed – some types of claim can still be made – but it is more difficult to recover monies from the beneficiaries once assets have been distributed.
It is also important to appreciate that many Will challenges do not go to court. Court action is expensive, time consuming, stressful and risky. An experienced solicitor will always try to reach a settlement on your behalf without the need for litigation – for example, using mediation.
One of the most common reasons for contesting a Will is that the Deceased did not make reasonable financial provision for a loved one.
Aside from claims for reasonable provision under the Inheritance Act, there are a range of other reasons which may lead to a Will being contested.
There are a number of reasons why a Will might be found to be invalid, thus leading to a claim regarding its authenticity.
1. The Will has not been executed properly
2. The person making the Will did not have mental capacity
3. The person making the Will was subject to undue influence
4. The person making the Will had a lack of knowledge and approval of its contents
5. The Will is a forgery, or some fraud was involved in its making
7. Revocation of the Will
8. The forfeiture rules apply
9. Lack of interest
A specialist lawyer can advise on whether you have grounds to make one of the above types of claim. Get in touch for advice – email@example.com.
Sometimes the fact that a Testator’s estate was substantially reduced due to lifetime gifts is not discovered until the Testator dies. At this point, it is not uncommon for relatives to question whether a lifetime gift was made as a result of undue influence. Where there is suspicion about the circumstances under which a lifetime gift has been made – for example, because someone pressured the donor to make the gift or because the donor lacked the mental capacity to understand what they were giving away – it may be possible to challenge the gift.