Swift Advice

No charge initial consultation

If you wish to discuss whether or not you have grounds for disputing a Will, use the contact details below and one of our experts will contact you in complete confidence.

email:
wills@silvermansherliker.co.uk

Tel: 020 7749 2700
ask for Gareth Hughes or John Abbott

Legal Grounds for Contesting a Will

 

Conduct of the Personal Representatives.

Very often the main reason for contesting a Will is that the Executors or Trustees of the deceased Estate are behaving improperly or unreasonably.

The collective term for the Executors and Trustees is ‘personal representatives’ or ‘PRs’ and the law places them under a strict code of conduct. If they step outside the boundaries of what is right and proper this can give valid grounds for contesting a Will, at least in the sense of challenging their conduct in the administration of the Estate.

Quite often the reason for contesting a Will is that there is too much friction either between the Personal Representatives themselves or between the PR’s and the beneficiaries under the Will. In difficult cases, where the Pr’s are behaving obstructively or unfairly it is necessary to make an application to the court for an order to remove a PR or to appoint or substitute another PR or sometime to appoint a judicial trustee.

This is not so much a case of contesting a Will itself but rather challenging the manner in which the Estate is being managed or distributed.

The kind of problem that often arises when contesting a Will is that the PRs are not acting in the best interests of the Estate or the Beneficiaries. They may be withholding information. They may be acting negligently. They may be making unauthorised or risky investment decisions with the Estate property. They may be transferring property into the names of people to whom it does not belong or selling property and dealing with the proceeds other than in accordance with the wishes of the beneficiaries. Action can be taken to stop this conduct.

Conflicts of interest can arise where the Executor is also a beneficiary under the Will or intestacy or is a director of the company the shares of which form part of the Estate, a particular problem where family companies are involved.

It is also regrettably the case that sometimes Executors are simply dishonest and acting for their own best interests and not those of the Estate and beneficiaries as a whole.