If you are an ‘ upset beneficiary’, grief may soon give way to confusion, regret (sometimes even anger) when a friend you considered was really close to you dies and forgets to leave you anything in their last will and testament– or at the very least not as high a bequest as you contemplated they might.
This is usually when peoples minds turn to the thought of contesting the WILL
Thanks to strengthening residential property prices over the years, lots of people bequeath an estate that is now definitely worth a large sum of money. Anxieties and sensibilities can reach melting point when differences in the family emerge about inheritance issues. Considerations may also arise if you feel the Last Will and Testament does not match the aspirations of the deceased. Sibling rivalries can arise after years of bitterness or merely through lack of communication. Contesting a will is extremely demanding in relations to time and psychological and mental effort. That is why cool, objective, professional and effective legal pointers is even crucial if you do come to a decision to contest a will. If your challenge is a success and the will is set aside, the next latest valid will stands in its place. If no such will can be found, the laws of intestacy will apply instead. In spite of the will, you may well be entitled to payment from the estate under the Inheritance Act 1975.
If you see yourself to be a unhappy beneficiary, the most common queries you’ll want addressed are:.
Can I contest the will?
Can I make a claim under the Inheritance Act?
You can not contest a will simply because you are unhappy with its or outcomes but you can challenge its legitimacy. In order for a will to be valid, it must be signed by the deceased (the person making the will) in the presence of two witnesses. It is also important that the testator was compos mentis and was totally knowledgeable about the implication of the document when the will was made and that they were not being seriously or unduly influenced by another person when making and signing their will.
Our committed staff have represented 100′s a large number of client who have contested wills and have also produced a comprehensive guide to contesting a will which we hope will answer many questions and provide a clear picture highlighting what happens when a will is contested. The following are common ways in which the validity of a will might be challenged:.
Proving a lack of testamentary capacity.
This challenge might succeed if it can be shown that the testator (the person making the will) probably did not comprehend the result of the will they made or the extent of the property they were disposing of. Medical evidence to that effect is the most persuasive and compelling argument when testamentary capacity is challenged. However, as the testator will no longer be alive, this will likely come from medical records, so obtaining these will be crucial.
A mental health expert may also be asked to give an opinion about the testator’s mental capacity to understand fully the meaning and implications of the will that was made if those medical records prove to be inconclusive. Gaining access to the files of the deceased’s solicitor may also prove useful as legal advisers are strongly encouraged to keep thorough notes concerning their client’s well being when there is any doubt about capacity.
Demonstrating undue influence.
This challenge needs evidence that the person making the will was pressured by someone else at the moment they made their will. Proving coercion is key to this challenge and without definite evidence of coercion any influence applied will not be considered ‘undue’. Someone who persistently pleads with or suggests to the testator before they made their will that they should leave them something in their will as a token of their appreciation for past services may be considered mercenary, but is acting entirely legitimately and those repeated hints may not constitute coercion.