Over the last few years Will disputes have become increasingly common. A dispute about a Will often arises because someone believes they have either been unfairly left out of a Will or that a Will does not reflect a person’s true intentions. Often this might be because the Will has been written late in a person’s life and at a time when they may have lacked the mental capacity to do so.
Alternatively, someone may claim that they actually own an asset included in the estate or, alternatively, that the Will does not reflect a promise that had been made and that someone has acted on that promise to their detriment.
CAN A WILL BE CHALLENGED?
The simple answer is yes. The validity of a Will is open to challenge on any of the following grounds:
The Will was not properly executed as required by law.
The person making the Will lacked the necessary mental capacity (known as testamentary capacity) to do so.
The person making the Will lacked knowledge and approval of the contents of the Will.
The person making the Will was subject to undue influence or duress.
The Will was signed by someone other than the person making the Will.
Further, the provision made by way of a valid Will or on intestacy can be challenged by a defined list of applicants, if reasonable provision has not been made. Please refer to our separate guide for claims of this nature.
In all of these circumstances swift action is necessary. You may need to take steps to protect the assets within the estate. If there are executors named within the Will, then they can apply for a grant of probate at any time after the death. A grant of probate (in most cases) means that the assets can be distributed to the beneficiaries named in the Will. If a grant of probate has been obtained, it is not too late to act, but the sooner the better.
It may be possible to enforce a promise that is not subsequently fulfilled in a Will.
Alternatively, you may have funded the acquisition of an asset that is held in the name of the deceased but, in fact, belongs to you. In such cases you may be able to recover the asset from the estate.
Finally, you may be concerned about the way in which an estate is being administered. If so, we can help you to pursue the executors or personal representatives, to ensure that the estate is properly administered.
WHAT SHOULD YOU DO
If you are concerned in any way about a Will or an administration of an estate, or a concern has been raised about an estate that you are dealing with please get in touch with Dispute a Will on 0800 975 2166 or email vie the contact page
We will often ask you to complete a short questionnaire to provide us with basic information about the circumstances.
Our team will consider your claim and let you know if they can assist and what the possible cost implication might be for you.
You will receive a telephone call from Dispute a Will following the completion of the questionnaire. We aim to respond to all questionnaires within 7 working days of receipt.
If Dispute a Will think it appropriate, we will provide a fixed fee interview with a view to providing initial advice as to whether the matter should be pursued and, if so, the terms upon which we can act for you.
We are experienced in handling all kinds of Will disputes and can minimise the financial and emotional costs of resolving them.