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.