Though it seems like it is obvious that a deceased parent should want to leave behind their estate to their children it is not a legal requirement in the UK. In fact, in the UK unless the Will explicitly states that the deceased children are to be included when dividing up their assets, then adult children often receive nothing. Who will receive the money and estate instead will depend on who was financially dependent on the deceased. In this case, the spouse or children under the age of 18.
Why Would You Need to Contest a Parent’s Will
If you believe you were unfairly excluded from your parent’s Will, you do have the right to contest the matter. There are many reasons why you will need to contest. Perhaps the will was not updated to reflect the deceased’s evolving family situation, or perhaps the will was updated when the parent has Dementia or was otherwise not in their right mind.
Circumstances Where You Should Contest a Parent’s Will
As stated before, in most cases self-sufficient adult children will not receive assets from their parent’s estate unless explicitly stated otherwise in the Will. If, however, the deceased did not have a married spouse or civil partner, then the estate should transfer to their next of kin.
Valid reasons for disputing your parents’ Will include:
If They Had Mental Illness or Disease like Dementia
Dementia and other mental illnesses that take away person’s right of mind and ability to make rational decisions are taken into consideration by the courts. Dementia and these other illnesses, however, can be difficult to prove as they fluctuate. If your parent updated their Will on a “good day” where they have for the most part full control of themselves, then updates to their Will are valid. If however, they updated their Will when they were having a relapse this can be contested.
If there is a Cause for Suspicion
There are a few signs of fraudulence you should know of. Though it is difficult to prove, it can help you gain the right to use a previous version of the Will if you win. Some examples of fraudulence include:
- A signature that is not your parent’s but a forgery
- Trickery or coercion occurring in your parent’s life before their death
- Missing a witness signature or lack of legal representation when making the Will
You will need to compile a lot of evidence and witness reports in order to prove a Will is fraudulent. If you succeed, you can request the previous version of the Will (if it exists) be used instead.
How Long to Contest a Will?
If you suspect there was fraudulent activity surrounding your loved one and their last Will, you will want to contact a lawyer before the Will is entered into Probate. You will then need to go to Probate Court to fight for your case. Otherwise, you can proceed by contesting a Will after probate, so long as you rely on legal representatives to fight for your case.
In most cases, your issues should be resolved in a Settlement. If not, you can take the matter to court.