One of the most asked questions in a contested probate is regarding the legal requirements of just who is able to contest a will. Ultimately, there are six groups of people who can challenge a will, although some of the rules regarding each group can be quite complex. If you are considering contesting a will and are wondering whether you fall into any of the relevant groups, this list will give the necessary overview. It’s always worth contacting will dispute solicitors as early as possible if you are considering contesting a will, but the more information that you can provide, the faster the process may be.
Whether you are related by marriage or by blood will play a factor in determining your right to contest a will. Those family members that are related by blood are listed under the Inheritance Act, with a specific list that names relatives that can make a claim for declaring a will invalid. Even if you are not a blood relative, your relationship with the deceased will be taken into account, and you do have legal protection in those cases as well.
Beneficiaries of the will
If you are named as a beneficiary of a will, then you are legally entitled to your inheritance. If the executors of the will do not pay you your inheritance, you are able to make a claim. This case will be based around the executor acting unreasonably in their legal duties.
Beneficiaries of earlier wills
People do change their wills, and if you were named on an earlier version of a will but have been removed from the most recent version, then you may still be able to make a claim for disputing a will. However, this will depend on your reasons for making the claim. Sometimes, this grouping will have a criminal case to address as well, as there may be fraud involved.
If you are an individual or business that is owed money by the deceased, you may, therefore, be able to claim compensation for your loss of revenue. If you fall into this group, you first need to ascertain whether a section 27 notice has been issued, as this is provided to help those who are owed money to recoup their losses.
If you relied on inheritance for your future and it was promised to you by the deceased, you may be able to make a claim and challenge the will. This can be a complex area to dispute, so if you fall into this group, seeking legal advice as early as possible is highly recommended. You will need to prove that the promise has been made, and that you are suffering adversely as a result of the broken promise.
Even if you are not related to the deceased, there is a chance that you may still be entitled to make a claim for reasonable provision. This group relates to those that were financially reliant on the deceased, whether this was monetary or in the form of accommodation. This group is protected under the Inheritance Act, so you will normally need to make this claim within six months of the probate date.
If you fall under any of these categories, there is a chance for you to contest a will successfully. It’s essential that you contact legal professionals as early as possible, as there are time limits to abide by, and they will have experience with how to challenge a will.