Although it is legal, it is not as easy as some may think to contest a Will after the death of a loved one. You will need to have a valid legal reason and the expertise of a legal team to accompany you. It is a complicated, lengthy and expensive process but if you believe that you have a valid reason to contest then contacting your Solicitor should be the first item on your agenda.
There are strict time limits on contesting a Will. Claims should be made within six months of the Grant of Probate being issued.
Who can contest a Will
To contest a Will you must be an “Interested Party” – This means you must –
- Be a spouse or an ex spouse who has not entered into a new partnership.
- A dependent – A child or stepchild of the dependent.
- An individual who was financially dependent on the deceased before their death.
- An individual who was promised an inheritance whilst the Testator was still alive.
- An individual who was named on a previous Will.
Valid reasons to contest a Will
There are several legal reason why you may want to contest a Will
- You believe that the Will was not executed correctly. For a Will to be executed it must be in written form and signed by the Testator. This must be in the presence of two witnesses who will also attest and sign the document.
- You believe that the Testator wasn’t of sound mind when making their Will. A Testator must have full mental capacity when they make all of the decisions surrounding what happens to their estate in the event of their death. An illness such as Dementia could hinder them from doing this. They must be able to understand the consequences of these decisions.
- You believe that they were not made aware of the true value of their estate.
- You believe that the decisions made were not their own and due to undue influence they were coerced into making certain decisions.
- You believe that the Will was forged.
You may believe that the Will is legally valid and executed correctly however you may think that you have either been unfairly disinherited or not left a fair amount. For cases such as these a claim would be raised under the Inheritance (Provisions for Family & Dependants) Act 1975.
For these cases, as the name of the act suggests you would need to be a family member such as a spouse or dependant who does not believe that adequate financial provisions have been made for you.
The Court would look at the size of the estate and the amount of inheritance that you have been awarded. They would take into account your current financial status and any physical or mental disabilities that you have. If they believe that adequate provisions have not been made for you, they would then decide whether to step in and what would be an adequate provisions for you.
Time limit to make a claim
There are strict time limits on contesting a Will. Claims should be made within six months of the Grant of Probate being issued. Trying to contest a Will after this time would impede your chances of a successful outcome.