Guide to Challenging or Contesting a Will

Losing a loved one is always an upsetting and difficult time that none of us likes to go through. But this upset can be made worse if you feel that the person’s Will is not reflective of their wishes. There are all kinds of reasons that you might be unhappy with a Will and you might be considering whether or not you can contest it. There are actually a number of different ways that you can contest a Will and a number of different grounds where this is possible. Our guide gives you a better understanding of how you can challenge a Will and the steps that you need to take.

Who Can Contest a Will?

It is first important to remember that challenging a Will is not a simple process, and often takes a lot of time and money. You should always seek legal advice to make sure you have grounds to contest the Will and that you have a case. Not everyone is able to contest a Will either, as a challenge can only be filed by someone that would be personally or financially affected by the current terms in the Will. You would then be deemed to have legal standing and grounds to challenge. People with legal standing include;

  • Disinherited Heirs-at-Law; this would include children that were not included in the Will
  • Beneficiaries and Fiduciaries in a Prior Will; anyone named in a previous Will can contest that they have been cut out of the current Will

However, just because you are able to contest a Will and have legal standing, doesn’t mean that you will win your challenge. You will still need to prove that you were not cut out of the Will deliberately and on one of a number of grounds.

Grounds for Contesting a Will

Once you have established your legal standing, you can now contest a Will. However, you will need to decide on what grounds you want to contest the Will. There is a number of different ways that you can contest a Will, which include;

Lack of Due Execution – this claim questions whether the Will was carried out properly and under the correct rules. This means that it is signed by the testator, in the presence of two others and it must appear that the testator intended to give effect to the Will

Lack of Testamentary Capacity – for someone to write a valid Will, they must be of sound mind at the time of writing. The person making the Will must be made aware they are making a Will and know the nature and value of their estate

Lack of Knowledge and Approval – this challenge relates to the testator approving of the contents of he Will. This would be a challenge that they were not made aware of all clauses in the Will and did not approve of it in full

Forged or Fraudulent Will – you can also challenge a Will on the grounds that you believe it was forged without the testator’s knowledge. Similarly, if the testator has been lied to or provided with fraudulent information when making the Will, it could be fraudulent.

Undue Influence – in a similar manner, you can attempt to prove that a person was unduly influenced into making a decision on their Will. This would include if a large sum was left to someone who helped write the Will.

Rectification Claims – you can also claim that the Will was not constructed accurately and fails to carry out the testator’s wishes. This could be due to a clerical issue or negligence from the person who wrote the Will.

If you are looking to challenge a Will, Warners Solicitors can help you with your claim. Our experienced team have more than enough knowledge to make sure that we deal with your issue. No matter what grounds you wish to contest the Will on, we can provide the perfect solution for you. Get in touch with us today to see how we can help.

The contents of this article are for the purposes of general awareness only.  They do not purport to constitute legal or professional advice.  The law may have changed since this article was published.  Readers should not act on the basis of the information included and should take appropriate professional advice upon their own particular circumstances.

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