Contesting a will of a stepparent: the basics

Contesting a will of a stepparent, in short, is a tricky matter in relation to inheritance disputes. Intestacy rules try to evolve to keep up with the parent and the step-child of the family.

It’s not uncommon nowadays for many families and children to have stepparents, and live with them, for a variety of reasons. Especially if you are a step-child who is:

  • very close to their stepparent and;
  • considers them as good as your biological parent for the entirety of your life

The fact is, it can be very upsetting to learn that they may have left you out of their will. Or, if they don’t give you what you feel they owe you as stepchildren.

However, as a step-child, it may be an area of uncertainty whether you have the right to contest the will of a step-parent. In fact, atypical family setups featuring non-blood relatives alone add difficulty to traditional estates.

That’s why, at The Inheritance Experts, we commit to helping you in these circumstances. Moreover, we’re here to advise the steps to take for contesting a stepparent’s will.

Circumstances around the drawing up of the will

Firstly, a will needs to have been made by an individual who has a sound mental capacity to do so. Therefore, your first step may be to evaluate your stepparent’s mental state during the time they wrote the will. Moreover, you must deduce whether they were of sound mind to do so.

Indeed, it can be very difficult to prove mental incapacity regarding the formulation of wills. But it’s a good starting point if you do believe your step-parent didn’t have the requisite mental capacity to distribute their assets accordingly.

This also applies if you suspect that the stepparent, despite being sound mind, faces undue influence from someone as they write the will. Bear in mind that much of the legislation revolves around a claim under the inheritance provision of the Family and Dependents Act 1975.

Your Legal Rights for Contesting a Will of a Stepparent

Financial provision in stepfamilies is an increasingly common scenario in the nuclear post-War era. To be sure, your legal rights aren’t as profound as those of biological children: blood relatives or direct children, as it were.

But you can contest the will of a step-parent if any of the following applies to you.

  • Your step-parent made a firm promise to you that you would receive a certain asset in their will. However, this agreement isn’t made clear in their Last Will and Testament.
  • In addition, if you depend financially on your step-parent. Perhaps you continue living with them after your biological mother or father dies/moves on. Or they were the sole financial providers – but these financial expectations get no coverage in the will.

What matters is the ability to establish your position. Moreover, that you prove that you were financially dependant on the step-parent in question. Therefore, by extension, they deserve a fair inheritance.

To fully understand whether your circumstances merit the need for a contesting of the will, seek sound legal advice. There are many factors worth consideration by a legal representative. Plus, there are some other considerations regarding the court, should the will contest go forth.

Seek Legal Advice for Contesting a Will of a Stepparent

  • How close you were to the testator;
  • The extent to which your stepparent supports you, and;
  • Also, your age when the stepparent joins the family.

If you are unsure whether your circumstances apply, then don’t hesitate to contact us.

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