There is no one size fits all when asking yourself the question, is it worth contesting a Will? There are lots of variables to weigh up and your first port of call should always be to consult your solicitor.
A good legal team will have years of experience with all kinds of cases and although they cannot guarantee that you will win your case, they will be able to advise you on whether they believe you do have a solid case that will stand up if you end up in a contested trial in court.
You are limited by time constraints when it comes to contesting a Will. Disputes must be raised within six months from the date of the Grant of Probate.
Every claim is looked at on a case by case basis.
People who may choose to contest a Will
Many people who choose to contest a Will fall into the below categories.
- A spouse or an ex spouse who has not entered into a new relationship.
- A dependent of the deceased including step children.
- An individual or organisation that was promised an inheritance from the deceased.
- An individual that has been disinherited.
Why contest the Will
The next question you need to ask yourself is why do you want to contest the Will?
- Do you believe that the Testator wasn’t of sound mind when they wrote their Will. Were they suffering from an illness such as Dementia?
- Do you believe they were coerced into making any of the decisions?
- Do you believe that they were not made fully aware of the value of their estate?
- Do you believe that the Will wasn’t executed correctly?
- Do you believe that the Will was forged?
You may believe that you have a case under the Inheritance (Provision for Family & Dependents) Act 1975. This act covers dependents of a deceased where they believe that reasonable financial provisions have not been made for them.
The role of the courts
The court will look at;
- The size of the estate.
- The current financial and future position of yourself.
- Any physical or mental disabilities that you suffer from.
- Any obligations that the deceased had to you.
They will then look at whether the Will or intestacy does make reasonable financial provisions for yourself. If it doesn’t, they will ask if they should intervene to award yourself further provisions and what provisions would be appropriate.
No contest clauses
You should always check the Will to ensure that there isn’t a “No Contest Clause” This clause will state that any beneficiary will forfeit all of their inheritance should they choose to challenge the Will.
Every claim is looked at on a case by case basis so these questions should be asked first before deciding whether to raise a dispute with a Will. You will be entering into a long and complicated process which may not end with your desired result.