Swift Advice

No charge initial consultation

If you wish to discuss whether or not you have grounds to challenge 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 to Dispute a Will

 

Overview

The loss of a relative or someone you have relied upon both emotionally and financially can be devastating. This difficult period can be further compounded if you feel you have not been adequately provided for and feel you may have grounds for contesting the Will or the way in which the estate is being managed.

Family structures and the investment of family wealth today are complex and estates much larger – so people are much less disposed to ‘making do’ and keeping silent when they feel they are victim of injustice in the way in which a deceased’s assets are being distributed.

Contesting A Will – Why?

It is now that case that 1 out of every 4 wills is successfully challenged in one way or another. What are the main reasons why more and more people are contesting a will?

Where There’s A Will…

You should remember that a person may leave what they want to whom they want. It is not for the courts or the state to dictate what should happen when someone dies. However, there are certain circumstances where the courts will intervene to assist someone contesting a Will.

For example, where it can be demonstrated that the deceased did not have sufficient ‘mental capacity’ to write a will or that someone exerted pressure or undue unfluence on them – known as duress – to write the will.

You Are Not Alone

It may be because people are more litigious or perhaps the increasing value of estates has made fighting over the assets more worthwhile, but whatever the reason, the courts are dealing with a rising number of claims where people are prepared to invest in contesting a Will.

Difficulties and disputes arising following a death are, sadly, on the increase. Such disputes often involve the level of provision – or lack or provision – in a will or care issues, for example, or people's involvement with terminally-ill friends or relatives prior to their death.

In the current economic climate - with people being so much more concerned about money and property values and interest rates fluctuating wildly – people’s concern to preserve what is rightfully theirs by contesting a Will is on the increase.

Whatever the issue, it is now more important that ever, if you are contesting a Will, to get expert advice quickly to stand the best chance of successfully resolving any disputes and grievances with the minimum of time, cost and hassle.

Are You Eligible?

It may be that you are a disappointed beneficiary where limited provision, or no provision, is made for you under a will (or under the rules of intestacy where there is no will). Providing you fall within a certain category, most commonly spouses, civil partners or children of the deceased, you may have a right to bring a claim under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975. This Act gives those individuals who are financially dependent on the deceased the possibility of obtaining financial provision from the estate.

Alternatively you may wish to dispute the validity of a will because it has not been validly executed by the deceased.

There are strict requirements on how wills need to be prepared and executed and with the large quantity of ‘home-made’ wills that are now produced, often individuals fail to comply with these essential requirements.

You may consider that at the time of entering into the will, the deceased lacked capacity and did not understand what they were doing. The will may not reflect the deceased’s wishes. For example, an elderly relative may have been under pressure from family members or a malevolent carer when writing their will.

Another possible problem can occur when the wording does not reflect what the deceased intended. This is usually a case of an obvious clerical error or a failure on the part of the will draftsman to understand the instructions. In those circumstances it is possible to rectify a will.

It is not uncommon for disputes to arise in the administration of the estate.

It may be that a beneficiary feels the executors are not dealing with the estate properly.

Alternatively the executors themselves may fall out. There are lots of possible actions that can be taken in these circumstances and it is always sensible to take advice.

These are just a few considerations to be borne in mind.