Upset as a beneficiary of a will? Do you think you have grounds to contest a will? If so, you may be considering who is entitled to contest a will in the first place. Contesting probate, by nature, is an extremely tough and trying process.
As a result, you must ensure that you have sufficient grounds on which to base your claim.
This guide will help anyone who is struggling to accept their part in a will as a beneficiary.
Who is Entitled to Contest a Will?
You can contest a will if you are:
- The testator’s blood relation;
- A spouse or divorcè of the testator; an official beneficiary in a previous will, or;
- Having a significant reason to expect specific terms as part of a promise by the testator before dying.
You can also contest a will if you are a creditor to whom the estate owes money. Also, if you’re financially dependent on the testator and the will didn’t make sufficient funding available to you.
Is there a time limit to contest a will?
Much of this falls down to the grant of probate. Generally speaking, you have up until:
- They grant an executor, and;
- The executor begins distributing assets according to their Final Will and Testament.
In turn, that brings us to the issue of legal costs. It can be very difficult regarding contesting a will costs after distribution occurs. However, it is possible to make a claim after probate. Ideally, to determine can you dispute a will after distribution, you need to make your claim as soon as possible.
What Grounds Can You Contest a Will on?
There are four main legal grounds on which you can contest a will, in which many different circumstances often fit. You can challenge a will if you believe that all or part of the will is a forgery. For instance, if it has a false signature.
Also, you can challenge if the will is invalid. Perhaps this is because there’s a new will or the official will doesn’t have a proper signature.
You can also contest the will if you believe that the deceased did not have the mental capacity to sign the will or understand its contents, or if you think that the will is a case of undue influence, where another beneficiary has purposefully poisoned the deceased against another recipient in order to claim more.
How Much Does it Cost to Contest a Will?
The cost of contesting a will largely depend on the individual circumstances of the case. For instance, if the case finds resolution after mediation, it’s much less expensive than if the case goes to court.
But if court proceedings are needed to settle the case, the cost for options such as the legal proceedings and solicitors can be anything above £100,000.
Who Pays to Contest a Will?
Many people believe that the estate in question will meet the costs of court proceedings and solicitors. However, this is not always the case. Accordingly, there are a few different options in terms of who will have to pay for the case. Who pays the costs of the contest?
Generally, the judges presiding over the court proceedings decide, and they are likely to fall into one of two options.
Option 1: The testator is inherently the cause of the costs of contesting a will. Accordingly, the money will come out of the estate.
Option 2: On the other hand, the court may say that the costs lie with the party responsible for their causation. For instance, those who contest a will in the first place.
What is ‘knowledge and approval’?
This area of will contesting is tricky, but ties in often with a family member/testator (the person, that is) and their own awareness. Signed and witnessed or not, financial provisions may still be at stake unless proof of their awareness of what they were doing is demonstrable.
In essence, for certain circumstances, a successful will require that the testator had:
the required knowledge to understand the contents of their will and that they approved the content.
For matters involving wills and contentious probate, turn to The Inheritance Experts. With a No Win, No Fee agreement, we can help you bring a claim to contest a will. We’ll also assist with matters of rules of intestacy, probate registry, lack of testamentary capacity and sound mind considerations.