Challenging A Will: 3 Key Questions Answered

Losing a family member leads to a very distressing time. Particularly if you then find out that you have been left out of their will. Challenging a will, hence, takes that level of distress even higher.

Therefore, this may mean that you will need to contest their last will and testament. Here are some of the main queries you may have when it comes to challenging a will.

Who Can Challenge a Will?

  • Blood relatives. These are the people most likely to contest a will.
  • A spouse. This is true regardless of whether they are still in marriage to or split from the testator. If the marriage to the testator remains intact, they have the right to challenge the will.
  • A creditor. This is if the testator’s estate owes a creditor money.
  • A beneficiary. This can be someone in an earlier will.
  • An individual who relies on the testator. This can be through financial support or accommodation.
  • An individual who receives a promise to an item. This could be a verbal or written agreement between the testator and the individual. Then, a challenge can be made if the agreement wasn’t set in the will.

Why Might Someone Be Challenging a Will?

There are a variety of reasons, both legal and personal, why someone is challenging a will.

For example, a person might contest a will if they feel that they receive unfair treatment. Therefore, they would be challenging the will as a matter of principle. As part of this, they may also feel that they know the testator’s intentions. More importantly, they feel as though the will doesn’t speak adequately enough to those intentions.

In order to prove this, the person would need to show that they had a close relationship with the testator. Again, this can be shown in a variety of ways. For example. the two are in a marriage, or a long-term relationship and cohabitation.

The legal grounds for contesting a will, meanwhile, are as follows:

  • The will is invalid. For example, incorrectly made or doesn’t have signatures in the presence of two independent co-signing witnesses.
  • The writer of the will isn’t mentally fit enough to be signing a legal document.
  • The document or signature was forged. However, this can be very hard to prove.
  • The writer of the will faces pressure/coercion into creating the will or changing an existing will.
  • The will doesn’t adequately provide for those who were financially dependent upon the testator.

What Exactly Happens When You’re Challenging a Will?

In the first instance, check that the person contesting the will has the right to do so. If so, proceedings will begin for negotiation and mediation. The solicitor will seek an agreement which benefits all parties involved, in the quickest time possible and with minimal financial expenditure.

However, the best intentions of any legal parties and individuals might fall short. In fact, 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 prepare in advance of the hearing. Moreover, a court will hear the argument and come to a resolution.

How we can help

If you are considering contesting a will, it is important to seek legal advice as soon as possible. At The Inheritance Experts, we help people who want to contest a will or trust get what is rightfully theirs.

When you call us, one of our advisors will chat through the particular circumstances of your potential claim and advise whether you may have grounds for a claim. This is done on a free, no-obligation basis.

If you proceed with your claim, we’ll match you with the firm who best suits the circumstances. Your solicitor will then collect any evidence and will begin negotiating with the other side.

If you are thinking of challenging a will and would like to know if you have grounds for a valid claim, don’t hesitate. Contact The Inheritance Experts by filling in the contact form on our website or by calling 0161 413 8763.

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.

How Long Does it Take For a Will Contest to be Resolved?

The grievance process is difficult enough, but it can be made significantly longer if a will dispute is needed. Many loved ones may be hurt and angry if they feel as though they have not been adequately covered in a final testament, which then leads to a will being contested. Which begs a common question: How Long does it take for a will contest to be resolved?

Our solicitors at The Inheritance Experts are experts in the area of will contesting: contact us for legal advice if you believe a will should be contested, whether it is on behalf of yourself or someone else.

What it Means to Contest a Will

Contesting a will means that a party close to the deceased feels as though they disagree with how the assets have been shared out within a will, such as not feeling as though they have received what they are fairly owed, or due to negligent behaviour.

Grounds to contest a will include:

  • Fraudulent wills
  • Forged wills
  • A lack of knowledge
  • Testamentary capacity
  • Lack of valid execution

In order to contest a will, the individual needs to have the legal right to do so. That means that contesting can only be made by the following:

  • A spouse
  • Direct family members
  • Beneficiaries
  • An individual who relied on the deceased for financial reasons
  • A creditor to whom the testator was in debt to
  • An individual promised an asset by the testator, but did not receive it in the will

How Long You Can Expect the Process to Take

Contesting a will relies on time, both with a time limit to submit your case, and then the time frame you can expect to wait following the opening of the case.

How Long Does it Take For a Will Contest to be Resolved? The Time Limit

You have until the executor starts distributing the testator’s assets in accordance with their Final Will and Testament, after the grant of probate. Sometimes, it’s possible to submit a claim after the commencement of distribution. Therefore, it’s advisable to do it beforehand to make for an easier process.

As with anything, as soon as possible is always beneficial, and the earlier you begin, the more likely it will be that you succeed.

The only time that experts don’t advise an exact time limit is with a case of fraud, wherein you would have as long as is necessary.

The Expected Time Frame after Commencing the Case

In short, don’t expect the process to be a quick one.

Firstly, the best way to resolve the dispute is via the means of mediation, which can be a long process. There is always the risk that mediation may not be successful. In turn, the contesting of a will then require court proceedings.

From then on, there is no designated time frame regarding how long the court may take to make a decision: it may take a few months, but it could take anything up to a few years. It also depends on the complications the case presents: do bear in mind that every case is unique.

Therefore you should expect the overall process to take a couple of years, and anything less will be an advantage.

Not in Sound Mind: What Does this Mean for Wills?

Even when the circumstances surrounding a will are as legally-compliant and straight-forward as possible, it’s still a very distressing and difficult time. Therefore, when the idea of an individual not being of sound mind is taken into account, this can make it significantly more difficult to handle. It’s consequently important to know what to do in the circumstances of an individual being unable to formulate their own will, and The Inheritance Experts are on hand to guide you every step of the way.

What Does It Mean to be ‘Not of Sound Mind’?

To be of a sound mind, a person needs to have full comprehension of their self and their situation. In providing a will, a person needs to fully understand their affairs, loved ones and possessions. In turn, they must be able to formulate a will with a complete understanding of how they’ll distribute their assets. To be of sound mind, you also need to be able to make rational decisions and judgements.

This is different from being in a state of emotional capacity. Formulating a will in the first place is never easy. But being emotional or sensitive regarding the distribution doesn’t mean you’re incapable of making a logical choice.

What Needs to Be Done in this Case?

When an individual is not of sound mind, they’re incapable of making a rational decision in regards to:

  • possessions;
  • finances, and/or;
  • general affairs.

In turn, you should appoint a representative to make the decision on their behalf. This representative can distribute their assets accordingly and make the decision for them.

Electing an individual to this responsibility can either be a family member or friend, or a legal representative. Appointing the latter is most common due to the need for neutrality and a more analytical mindset.

Contesting a Will if you Think an Individual is Not of Sound Mind

It is possible to dispute a will if you are an external party who believes that the individual in question was non-compos mentis when they wrote their will. However, it can become very difficult to define being of a rational mind.

It’s different to making a decision which seems unexpected or nonsensical to a loved one or familiar individual. The writer of a will can make a rational and personal decision whilst also being of sound mind, even if that decision isn’t preferable to parties involved. This may be more in relation to an eccentric personality rather than a lack of rationality.

One must provide solid proof to attest that a person was not of sound mind when formulating their will. Of course, this then leads to difficulties in handling such a sensitive matter, which is why we encourage you to seek expert legal advice.

If you are unsure whether an individual is of unsound mind and require legal assistance, then don’t hesitate to contact The Inheritance Experts today.

What Evidence is Needed to Contest a Will?

Do you know what evidence is needed when contesting a will of a family member?

When a family member dies, it’s often a difficult grieving period for everyone who was close to them. Unfortunately, surprises in the testator’s will can cause more upset during this time. Often, some people find there are suspicious circumstances surrounding it.

No matter why you want to contest a will, you need proof to see a successful claim go through. It helps to know exactly what evidence is needed to contest a will.

So instead of searching for it, stick around and take note of these important steps.

Establishing your grounds to show what evidence is needed to contest a will

Knowing what legal grounds you stand on helps you determine if you can even contest a will in the first place. So let’s say that do meet the grounds to contest a will. Knowing the reason why you are doing it also enables you to streamline how you collect evidence. Here are some of the most common grounds to contest with.

The testator lacks the mental capacity to write the will

For example, if they were experiencing psychosis due to a mental health disorder.

They did not understand or approve the content of the will

Those hard of hearing, eyesight, or who dictate that someone else sign the will fall under this bracket.

Undue influence from another party

These grounds apply to when the testator faces consequential pressure to write their will a certain way.

The will doesn’t reflect a testator’s true intent

Accordingly, this is for circumstances where a will does not truly reflect the testator’s intentions.

Fraudulent Wills

Simply put, fraudulence is when benefits go to someone as a result of fraud. Moreover, you can challenge if fraud is even under suspicion, thus bringing the will itself into question.

Execution of the will violate the Wills Act 1837

Specifically, section 9 of the Wills Act 1837 is under violation in this scenario. As a result, the will becomes invalid and the estate passes under the statutory rules of intestacy.

Vital evidence to collect

Depending on which grounds you follow to contest the will, you’ll need specific evidence to back up your claims. One of the best examples is when you are contesting a will.* In this case, you will need to heavily rely on medical notes.

Witness Statements

Those present at the time of drafting and signing the will are important to determine if a will is valid. This also includes those who may have known the testator well before their own death. Examples of witnesses include**:

  • Solicitors who drew up the will.
  • People who witness the signing of the will.
  • Those, aside from medical professionals, who can attest to the testator’s state of mind during the signing of the will.
  • Loved ones involved in taking care of the testator before they died.
  • Anyone who believes they have knowledge of the testator’s previous intentions regarding their assets.

Helpful Documents

There may be written documents the testator had written which indicate something different from what was written in their will. If you find and verify such documents, they could offer valuable insight into what their true intentions were.

It could be that you find a journal entry which speaks of any undue pressure they experience to change it. Also, seek out any letters written to someone expressing their sincere wishes.

Medical Support

As we say, medical notes are important pieces of evidence. They can prove whether or not a person was in sound mind when creating their will.

Yet, they are also a testament to the testator’s health, age, and any disabilities that may impair their ability to make a sensible decision. Collect them from doctors or other medical professionals around in the time before the testator passes. Moreover, be sure to include notes showing which kinds of medications they may have been taking.

FOOTNOTES
All UK Written Wills
No Win No Fee*

*This is because you trust that the testator lacks the requisite mental capacity to write it.

**But are not limited to.

What Happens If A Family Member’s Will Is Contested?

There may be many reasons why a family member’s will is contested.

  • It may be that a family member feels subject to unfair treatment.
  • Perhaps the will exists under negligent circumstances. For instance, the author of the will didn’t have the mental capacity to understand the legal document.
  • Or there may be suspicions around the authenticity of the will.

Whatever the reason, will dispute are valid and involve professional inheritance solicitor’s assisting with the proceedings. Below, we review what happens if a family member’s will is contested, and how it can affect you.

Legal Rights to Dispute the Will Require Verification

When a family member’s will is contested, the person contesting will have their legal rights checked. This means a solicitor first must ensure the person has the valid right to make a will dispute. In the case of a family member, blood relations can contest a will. If it’s your family member’s will under contest by a non-blood relative, they need to be one of the following.

  • First, they can be a spouse.
  • Additionally, it could include a creditor.
  • In all cases, the person is a beneficiary.
  • Moreover, it could be an individual who relies on the testator for financial or living support.
  • Finally, it could be an individual expecting something from the testator by promise, but the will doesn’t spell out. The promise varies in nature, usually: verbal or in writing.

If a non-family member is an individual contesting the will, then it will need to be an official family member who states whether they agree with the unfair treatment or not, for the dispute to proceed.

Seek Legal Advice at the Earliest Opportunity

There is a time limit on how long a will dispute can go on. With this in mind, professional solicitors advise for an individual to seek legal counsel as soon as possible to get the ball rolling.

Mediation Will Commence When a Family Member’s Will Is Contested

Once one assigns an inheritance solicitor, negotiations and mediation time begin, which can often take months. The aim is to come to an agreement satisfying all parties. In turn, dependable legal advice is crucial for this process. Moreover, it depends on the cooperation of the individuals in the process.

For example, say an individual can contest the will legally, but another party is unwilling to agree. Quite simply, the mediation time can extend even longer.

What Happens If Mediation Doesn’t Work?

If this is the case, then the dispute goes to court. The Courts will provide a date, which may include a long wait time – sometimes 12 months. No further action can be taken in the will dispute until the court date is met.

This, in turn, means a lot of extensive waiting. That waiting adds to the distress of the grieving process, especially if you seek closure on the situation.

A court hearing is also time-consuming and expensive, which is why an inheritance solicitor will always endeavour to settle and come to an agreement beforehand to avoid the need to go to court.

You must also submit a written affidavit in advance of the hearing.

Poll Shows Millions Would Dispute a Will if Unhappy with Result

A poll of British people reveals millions would dispute a will if unhappy with result of the awarding of assets went down. The poll by Direct Line Life Insurance found that over 12.6 million British people would challenge a will in court.

  • Especially if the division of assets was inappropriate.
  • Even if the testator’s will was current and clear.

This finding is particularly interesting when we consider that around half don’t write a will at all. They don’t because they presume that their assets will automatically go to their spouse, partner or children by default.

Why Some Would Dispute a Will if Unhappy with Result

However, complications arise with:

  • multiple marriages,
  • half-siblings,
  • non-traditional families and;
  • couples free of weddings who live together.

Some people fail to update their will and sometimes a main benefactor may already be gone themselves. There were over 8,100 applications to contest wills in 2017, a 6% increase over 12 months. These ‘grants of probate’ cost £20 to file. That means British people spent £160,000 in one year on raising issues with wills.

According to a family solicitors, the most common reason for contesting a will in the UK is that the testator was under ‘undue influence’. In essence, someone faces pressure to sign a will which did not necessarily represent their true wishes. These petitions are not often successful: the challenger needs to provide a high level of proof.

Wills can also face challenges on the grounds of ‘testamentary capacity.’ In short, the legal and mental ability of a person to alter or make their will is in doubt.

There are also ‘rectification and construction’ claims that face contesting. This is the claim that a clerical error was made when drafting the will, and it didn’t truly reflect the testator’s wishes.

Business manager at Direct Line life insurance, Jane Morgan, says:

‘While people are increasingly contesting wills, everyone has the right to choose how they’d like to distribute their assets. Even if it seems unusual or excludes even the closest family members. People can be surprised and hurt by the contents of a will. So people may wish to discuss with beneficiaries and those that might think they would inherit. How they plan to distribute their assets.’

The difficulties of when you dispute a will

Unfortunately, the issue of money and trust is often problematic before death. A recent study reveals only half of adults would trust a family member to manage their finances if they could no longer do it themselves. A study by a legal service also found that over 33% don’t have a family member we would trust to take care of our affairs. Essentially, we don’t believe our family can manage our own money when we can’t do it ourselves.

It’s therefore even more surprising to learn that nearly 80% of those aged over 45 do not have a lasting power of attorney (LPA). This legal document identifies the people they would prefer to manage their affairs when they are no longer able to. Over 41 million people believe that they do not need an LPA as their loved ones would be automatically able to make decisions on their behalf if they could not.

Would you dispute a will if unhappy with results? We can help. If you’d like to discuss an inheritance issue or feel the effects of this story, reach out to us. It’s in your best interest to get in contact with us at The Inheritance Experts where we can discuss your issue or requirement.

Seeing someone contest a will

In most circumstances, the Last Will and Testament is the paramount document. But to witness someone contest a will, you’ll encounter someone lobbying a serious challenge to the management of assets in an estate. A will, in summary, is the document that determines how to divide an estate and ensures they carry out testator’s wishes.

However, there are still instances where someone contests a will. Though these contentious probate situations are rare, they do occur. As FT Adviser states:

There is no doubt that society has become more aware of the ability to challenge a will. (According) to court statistics, (they’re) more willing to see a challenge through to what is, inevitably, a bitter ending at trial.

Watching Someone Contest a Will: How Do They Do It?

Somone can contest a legal document like a will for only a few reasons. One of the most prominent reasons to contest a will is because there is evidence of fraud. Perhaps they had dementia during their last codicil*, or perhaps there was a falsification of the signature.

Other reasons why a will can be contested is if a named beneficiary doesn’t receive anything in the will, or if the contester financially relied on the deceased but not explicitly named (for example, a previous spouse who relied on childcare support).

Claims under The Inheritance Provision for Family and Dependants Act 1975 is the key bit of legislation enabling claims. If you choose to undertake it, no win no fee solicitors are the way to go if you want to avoid unnecessary legal costs. Simply come to a fee agreement with your lawyer at the start in the case of a win, and you won’t even pay if you’re the losing party.

Who Can Contest a Will?

It’s important when reading this to remember that not everyone can contest a will, however. The only ones who can are:

  • Blood relatives;
  • Spouses;
  • Creditors;
  • Someone who is a beneficiary beforehand but left out later on;
  • A person who relies financially on the testator, or;
  • Someone who receives a promise of a gift either verbally or otherwise that was forgotten in the will.

What Happens When Someone Contests a Will?

It’s crucial to bear in mind that there are time limits to contesting a will.

  • If your name is not in the will, you have within 6 months of the grant of probate to contest.
  • Additionally, you have up to 12 years to contest it if your name is in the will.
  • Moreover, if the reason to contest a will is due to fraud, there are no time limits.

Build the Case

When contesting a will, there are a few steps to take. The first is to build evidence. This means proving either:

  • Fraud;
  • Promises made by the testator;
  • Undue influence over the testator;
  • Diminished mental capacity during signing;
  • Debts that the testator owes, or;
  • Proof of financial reliance.

File Your Case with the Probate Registry

Once you have the case, you will need to file it with the probate registry. Such a case filing is through a document known as a caveat. Ideally, you’ll issue this before probate, as it stops the issuance of probate.

Negotiate

Working with The Inheritance Experts gives you access to expert negotiators working on your behalf when contesting the will.

Most solicitors try to resolve the issue out of court so that all parties can leave with an agreeable settlement. This process can take a long time, even up to a year or more.

Settle

In some instances, parties settle the case out of court. Though the person who contests the will likely won’t receive the full sum, this is the best way to settle the matter. Particularly in a way wherein most parties agree and everyone goes home a winner.

FINAL RESORT: Go to Court

If negotiations fail when someone contests a will, the issue can go to court. This is the worst-case scenario and only occurs with the most extreme cases.

Contesting a will is a long process, especially with financial provisions and potential court proceedings. But it’s important to get a solicitor on board you feel like:

  • you face an unfair exclusion from the will;
  • are a creditor, or;
  • you believe there was an occurrence of fraud.

Hire professionals to build your case and fight for you so that you have the greatest chance of success. For casing like those unduly influenced or any other grounds to contest and legally challenge the validity of the will, top legal advice is essential.

Footnotes
All UK Written Wills
No Win No Fee*

*A codicil is an official name for updates to the will.

Challenging A Will? 6 Key Questions

What questions should you ask when challenging a will?

A will is a legally binding document through which an individual decides how they will divide their wealth and property after their death. However, it is possible to challenge wills under specific grounds if:

  • Potential beneficiaries are unhappy with the result of a will, or;
  • Believe that there has not been enough provision made for them.

Any Questions for Challenging a Will?

Contesting a will can be a long and complex process, and below are some of the most frequent questions we answer.

Can You Even Do it in the First Place?

Wills are legally binding documents that people write in order to ensure that their assets are divided as they wish. While this may mean that wills are not easy to challenge, it is certainly possible to do so with the right grounds and under the right circumstances.

Although challenging a will is not a regular occurrence, there have been many successful cases where upset beneficiaries can overturn a relation’s will.

How Can You Challenge a Will?

You can challenge executor of will under specific grounds. These include:

  • First, if you believe that forgery took place in the signing of the will or its contents.
  • Also, if you believe that the testator had a mental capacity before their death that was unfit for understanding the contents of the will.
  • Third, if they were the victim of undue influence from another beneficiary while writing the will.
  • Finally, you believe that the will was invalid. For example, it didn’t meet specific legal regulations.

To challenge a will, seek a solicitor who ensures you have strong enough evidence to succeed. Moreover, they can help to guide you through your options.

Who Can Challenge a Will?

Blood relations of the testator are the main category of people that can challenge a will. However, others also all have valid claims when challenging probate.

  • Spouses;
  • Adoptees;
  • Creditors in lieu of money from the estate
  • Financial dependents of the testator, and;
  • Those who were previously expecting items in the will.

What Does it Cost When Challenging a Will?

The cost of the will highly depend on the length and severity of the case. However, if the case goes to court, you should expect solicitor and court fees of over £100,000.

Not only this, but if you lose the case, you may be liable to pay these. And they don’t automatically come from the contents of the estate.

Will I Need to Go To Court for Challenging a Will?

Many people opt to attempt to resolve their probate contest through mediation before going straight to court. In short, many cases find resolution in this way. Not only is this less stressful, but it can help you to maintain family relations during inheritance fights.

Mediation for probate cases includes holding a discussion between beneficiaries in an attempt to reach a resolution. The case falls under the monitoring of an impartial third party. If the case finds no resolution through this, you may have to go to court to ensure that a judge can preside over your case and balance the evidence.

What are the Time Limits for Challenging a Will?

In some cases, the time limit to contest probate is six months. However, in most cases, there is no time limit. In turn, you can contest probate many years after the assets of the will have been given away.

Am I Entitled To Contest A Will?

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.

0161 413 8763

7 days a week from 8am - 9pm

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