Organising the last wishes of a loved one or someone you know is a very distressing and important time, and there are many questions to be answered, especially when a person decides to dispute a will.
Below are some of the main queries you may have when it comes to challenging a will, along with their answers.
Who Can Challenge a Will?
- Blood relatives. This category is the most likely to contest a will.
- A spouse. Regardless of whether the marriage was successful or whether a spouse is estranged, they still have the right to dispute.
- A creditor. This is if the deceased’s estate owes the creditor money.
- A beneficiary. This can be a person named in an earlier will.
- An individual who relied on the deceased. This can be through financial support or accommodation.
- An individual who had an item promised. This could be a verbal or written agreement between the deceased and the individual, and a challenge can be made if the agreement was not mentioned in the will.
Why Might a Will Be Challenged?
The reasons for contesting a will are a mix of legal and personal. A person may dispute a will if they feel that they have been unfairly treated or not given what they are owed, and as a matter of principle, they seek to fight it. They may also feel that they know the deceased’s intentions and feel as though the will has not communicated them well enough.
The legal grounds for contesting a will are as follows:
- The will is invalid due to being produced incorrectly or signed by witnesses who were not, in fact, present.
- The writer of the will did not have coherent mental capacity to understand the signing of a legal document.
- The document or signature was forged. This is naturally hard to prove.
- The writer of the will was pressurised while creating the document.
- The will negates to provide adequately for financial dependents.
What Happens When Someone Challenges A Will?
It is imperative that legal advice is sought as soon as possible. Trained professionals at The Inheritance Experts can help with any will disputes. In the first instance, it needs to be checked that the person contesting the will has the right to do so. If so, proceedings will begin for negotiation and mediation. The elected solicitor will seek an agreement which benefits all parties involved, in the quickest time possible and with minimal financial expenditure.
However, despite the best intentions of any legal parties and individuals involved, sometimes it may be impossible to come to an agreement during the mediation stage. If this is the case, the issue will then be taken a step further to court, and you will adhere to a court hearing. This could include a wait of at least 12 months before an official court date, therefore this avenue is particularly time-consuming and expensive.
An affidavit will need to be prepared in advance of the hearing, and a court will hear the argument and come to a resolution.