A will is a legally binding document setting out a person’s instructions, wishes and bequests but there are several reasons whereby a will may be challenged including :
• The will was not made in accordance with the law and is therefore invalid
• A dependant has not been properly provided for
• There is suspected fraud or coercion – i.e – the will was made under duress
Michelle Hayter, Dispute Resolution Solicitor, says “To contest a will on the grounds that you were not properly financially provided for, you must have had a relationship with and been financially dependent on the deceased. The courts will take into account your financial situation as well as the size of the estate in question.”
Anyone can dispute a will’s validity and there are four main criteria that go towards determining the validity of the will. These are :
If you believe that the deceased lacked the mental capacity or knowledge in the making of the will its validity can be questioned. If undue influence was exerted by someone upon the deceased or the will was not properly executed in accordance with the law – ie- with witnesses present , this can also void it. If there is any doubt about the validity of any of these you have sufficient cause to seek legal advice. A witness to a will must be a person who does not stand to gain from the estate of the deceased. Contesting a will is a complex area of law and our wills and Probate team can advise you if you feel you have a case.
For a free initial meeting please call 01202 499255 and Michelle or a member of his team will be happy to discuss any questions you may have.