Contesting a Will
Our expertise includes:
Contesting a Will
Disputing the contents of a loved one’s Will during a time of bereavement can, understandably, be a daunting prospect. We can make contesting a Will simpler and give you the best chance of getting the right outcome.
At Tinsdills Solicitors, we can help to navigate all types of legal disagreements. As such, we can take you through all the steps involved in bringing or defending a Will dispute, offering tailored support to help you secure a fair resolution.
We have strong negotiation skills and, wherever possible, will always seek to resolve disputes related to a contested Will amicably and with minimal fuss. Our focus is on providing you with tailored advice on the best settlement possible
Should court proceedings be necessary to resolve a contested Will dispute, we can provide robust representation and carefully tailored support.
Our team also have a wide range of expertise in other matters related to contested Wills, Trusts and Probate. Find out more about these services here.
To discuss contesting a Will with one of our contentious probate solicitors in Hanley, Leek, Newcastle-Under-Lyme or Sandbach, please call 01782 652300 or use the enquiry form on the right hand side of the page.
Our Expertise with Contesting a Will
Testamentary capacity refers to an individual’s legal and mental ability to make and/or alter a valid Will. If someone makes a Will without sufficient testamentary capacity, it will be considered invalid. Their estate will be instead administered according to their most recent valid Will or the rules of intestacy where there is no Will.
Someone may lack testamentary capacity if they are affected by conditions such as memory loss, Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, mental illness or a brain injury.
Our contentious probate solicitors can support you with cases involving a lack of testamentary capacity, putting forward a case to contest or defend a Will depending on your circumstances and what you are looking to achieve.
Find out more about contesting a Will due to lack of testamentary capacity.
A lack of due execution may have occurred where it is believed that the various legal formalities for making a Will were not followed. For example, Wills need to be in writing and be signed by the testator in the presence of two or witnesses.
A Will is considered to be invalid if any of the required procedures were not followed when it was made or amended by the testator. This means that a claim could be put forward to challenge its terms if it can be shown that there was a lack of due execution.
We can advise anyone who is making or defending a claim for lack of due execution, taking all the necessary steps to establish the facts of the matter and what processes were followed when the Will was created.
Find out more about contesting a Will due to lack of due execution.
It is a requirement for anyone making a Will to understand and approve of its contents. If it can be shown that someone did not understand or comprehend what was in the Will or approve of its contents, it is likely to be considered invalid.
Where the issue of lack of knowledge or approval is concerned, our team of contentious probate solicitors can work to establish the circumstances surrounding the execution of the Will. We can clarify the facts of the matter and whether the testator was truly aware of what the implications would be of signing the document.
Find out more about contesting a Will due to a lack of knowledge or approval.
Undue influence or duress is used to describe an instance of someone coercing or pressuring a person to make a Will, or amend an existing Will, so that it benefits them. If there is evidence of undue influence, this would render a Will invalid.
It may be the case that the deceased changed their Will significantly, or that the changes were in opposition to what they have previously requested. It could also be the case that someone who had not been included in a Will became a sudden beneficiary.
We can help to establish whether the testator may have been improperly influenced in the making of their Will, ensuring their true wishes are carried out.
Find out more about contesting a Will due to undue influence or duress.
As can be expected, if it can be shown that a Will has been forged or that fraud has taken place, it will be deemed invalid. A Will could be forged if the signature is not genuine or its terms have been altered by anyone other than the testator.
Fraud may have taken place if the most recent valid Will has been destroyed or hidden or if witness signatures were added at a later date.
Claims relating to fraud or forgery can be extremely upsetting for all involved, given how serious these allegations are. Our team can advise you on the possibility of bringing forward a claim on these grounds, as well as defending you rights if you are a beneficiary accused of fraud or forgery.
Find out more about contesting a Will due to fraud or forgery.
If a Will fails to carry out the testator’s intentions due to a clerical error or a failure on the part of the person preparing the Will to understand its instructions, it may be possible to have the Will corrected.
Will construction may be needed if the wording of the Will is ambiguous. A court can interpret or ‘construe’ the Will to determine the testator’s intentions. Will rectification refers to the process of having the Will corrected by a court, either following construction or if there are straightforward clerical errors that need to be fixed.
In these situations, we can investigate the circumstances that led to the error and put forward a robust case as to why the Will should be interpreted or rectified. We will consider the terms of the Will against the demonstrable intentions of the person who drafted the Will to make sure their wishes are carried out.
Find out more about Will rectification and construction.
Get in Touch With our Contested Will Solicitors Today
Do you want to discuss a contested Will case? We have expertise in this area and more.
With a dedicated team on hand to take you through every step of the process, you can rest assured that we will provide you with the best chance of getting the outcome you deserve.
Contested Wills FAQs
Generally speaking, the time limits for contesting a Will depend on the type of claim. For example:
- You have six months from Grant of Probate to claim for financial provision under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975.
- You have six months from Grant of Probate to make a claim for Will rectification and construction.
- There is no time limit for contesting a Will on the grounds of lack of testamentary capacity.
- There is no time limit for contesting a Will on the grounds of undue influence or duress.
- There is no time limit for contesting a Will on the grounds of lack of due execution.
- There is no time limit for contesting a Will on the grounds of fraud or forgery.
It is important to keep in mind that, while there is no set time limit for many types of claims, it will be more difficult to make a claim as time goes on. This is because it will typically be harder to obtain evidence.
Who can challenge the validity of a Will depends on the circumstances. It is usually people who were involved in the person’s life and who may have been expecting to be a beneficiary of the estate.
The exact time it takes to contest a Will depends on various factors, including the reason for the dispute, the level of evidence required and how willing the relevant parties are to find an agreement without the intervention of the courts.
For example, a contested Will that relates to a simple clerical error is likely to be solved much quicker than a contested Will concerning allegations of fraud or forgery.
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