When someone dies, it can bring out strong emotions and often there are disputes over the will. Inheritance and probate matters can be complex and difficult, and sometimes disputes can result in legal action. The first step in dealing with any dispute is to seek the advice of specialist solicitors. Our inheritance & probate team are experienced in representing clients across a range of wills, trusts and estates issues, including contesting wills.
Why Would I Need to Contest a Will?
A will is a legal document that sets out how you wish to leave your property upon death. A good will can give peace of mind to loved ones that their affairs are being dealt with effectively. Having a will can also prevent conflict between family members, especially when it comes to the division of your assets.
However, in some cases, a will may be contested for one of the following reasons:
The testator did not have mental capacity: Whether this means that they did not understand what they were doing or if they had dementia or Alzheimer’s, lack of mental capacity is a common reason to contest a will. It’s important that if you have any doubts about the mental capacity of a deceased relative, to seek tailored legal advice immediately.
Incomplete or incorrect: A will must include a signature from the testator in order to be valid. It must also be dated and signed in their presence, and it should be clear that they understand what they are signing. There can be small errors in a will that could lead to a successful challenge, or it may be that the will is not written properly.
Undue influence or fraud: This is where you have a claim that the deceased was influenced by another person to make their will in certain ways, such as by giving them money, gifts or other assets in exchange for their favour. It can also be where a person was tricked into executing a will through forgery or other fraudulent means.
Weighing up your options
It is important to consider what you are hoping to achieve before considering a will contest. If your reason for a will contest is because you believe you should have been left more of the estate, we can work with you to establish if you have what is known as standing to bring a claim against the will. If you have standing, we can then look at your case and gather evidence to support your claim. The more evidence we have to support your claim, the more likely we are to be able to settle the matter outside of court proceedings. If we do need to take your case to trial, our will contest solicitors have the experience and expertise to represent you in a professional manner at all Surrogate’s courts across the country. Contact Donald Novick and his team today for a free initial consultation. We have a reputation for zealously protecting the rights of heirs in all estate litigation.