For those with minimal legal knowledge, wills can be complex areas to consider. These considerations can become even more complicated in those cases where a will needs to be contested. There are a number of reasons why someone might consider contesting a will, but not everyone is able to do so. There are clear legal guidelines stipulating just who can challenge a will, and if you do not fit it into any of the following categories then you may not be allowed to pursue your challenge. If you do feel that you need to challenge a will, knowing just who is legally allowed to do so could save you both time and expense.
The main group that are legally allowed to challenge a will are family members. It could be that they are hoping to restore an earlier version of the will, or possibly asking a court to declare that the current will is invalid. This second challenge is usually in cases of ensuring that the rules of intestacy become applicable. It is worth considering the area of bloodline relations, as those with family members that are related by blood rather than marriage may be able to make their challenges with the backing of the Inheritance Act.
If you have been named as a beneficiary of a will and the executors of that will have failed to grant you your inheritance then you will most likely be able to make a claim for will disputes. If the executor of a will does not carry out their duties, then they are considered to have acted unreasonably because they have not fulfilled their function in terms of distributing the estate.
Previous beneficiaries of earlier wills
Wills are updated, and if you feel that a later version of the will does not benefit you adequately, then you may be entitled to contest. This can be a difficult area to proceed in, and there are a number of issues that will need to be assessed before you move forward, such as providing proof of previous versions. Always discuss this option with experienced legal professionals.
If you are a creditor
If the deceased owes you any money, you should always look at obtaining legal advice as quickly as possible. You will have to ascertain whether a section 27 Notice has already been issued, as this will help support your grounds for contesting a will. If so, the process for making your claim to recoup those unpaid debts is much smoother.
If the deceased has promised that you will receive something from their will, then you may be able to contest the will if you suddenly find that they have reneged on their promises. This is one of the most common reasons to contest a will, especially if the claimant is able to show that the promised money or items were being relied on.
If you were reliant on the deceased for your financial needs, then you may be able to make a claim of Reasonable Provision. You do not have to be related to the deceased in order to make this will dispute type. If you have been provided for in terms of finances or accommodation by the deceased, reasonable provision is provided for in the Inheritance Act.
In any legal situation, the quicker that you get advice from will dispute solicitors, the faster you will reach a satisfying conclusion. If you feel that you have valid reasons to challenge a will, then determine which category of challenge you wish to pursue and discuss the next steps with your legal advisors.