Should I challenge a will?

Should I challenge a will?

Should I challenge a will?

by | Inheritance

If you feel unjustly treated by a will, or that a will may not be legal, there are a number of grounds on which you can challenge a will.  Indeed, will challenges in the UK are increasing.  As the value of family owned property increases and family becomes more complicated, contested wills have become more common.  A will challenge can void a whole will, or just specific parts of the will.

Court statistics issued in 2015 indicate that in 2013 there were 97 will challenges claims started in the UK High Court – and in 2014 this figure had jumped to 178.  Spouses are the most successful claimants.  However this is approximately only 1% of wills that pass through the Probate Court annually.

Below are the most common grounds to challenge a will.  The requirement is on the challenger to prove their accusation.

Testamentary Capacity

You must have full capacity to write a will.  Under the law, you must understand the consequence of your actions.  To challenge this, you must prove that the testator had senility, dementia, insanity, was under the influence of a substance, or in some other way lacked the mental capacity to form a will.  This is the most common form of challenge.

Fraud, Forgery, and Undue Influence

You must prove that the testator lacked the free will to make a will and was manipulated.

There is Another Will

When a new will is drafted, be sure to destroy any older copies.  Any new will should be dated and refer to the voiding of any previous wills.  The newest will is always going to given precedence by the court.

Incorrectly Executed Will

A will must be signed as per the law of the country under which it is drafted.  If there is any doubt that the will was not executed as per the legal requirement, it will invalidate the will.

 

Challenging a will can be complicated, arduous, expensive and cause arguments among family and friends.  However, if you feel that a will may not be valid, you should immediately seek professional assistance to make a challenge.

 

 

 

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