Contesting a Will


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Due to recent events, you may feel that you need to contest a Will of someone in your life. However, there are certain grounds that you can contest a Will on and there are many reasons that a Will can be declared completely legal. This presentation will provide you with all the information you are going to need on the subject.

For more information, or to get in touch with a professional Solicitor, take a look at our website:

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Contesting a Will

  2. 2. CONTESTING A WILL • Contesting a Will is defined under an area of law referred to as the ‘contentious probate’ • This is considered a specialist matter and it is strongly recommend that you invest in legal advice from a Solicitor who specialises in this area of law • When you’re Contesting a Will, the court will assume that it is valid until proven otherwise. Therefore, the burden of providing proof lies upon the applicant
  3. 3. WHAT MAKES A WILL VALID? A Will is an intricate document, which requires careful drafting. The following legal requirements must be met for a Will to be declared legal:  The testator (the person creating the Will) must have been 18 years or over at the time of signing the Will  The Will must not be executed under any undue influence  The testator must have legal mental capacity in order to execute a Will. This includes no evidence of the testator having any mental illness, such as dementia  The testator must have fully understood the meaning and consequences of their choices within the Will
  4. 4. WHAT MAKES A WILL VALID?  Two people must witness the Will. These people are not normally beneficiaries  If a beneficiary does witness the Will, then they will lose their right to receive a legacy  The testator must sign the Will in the presence of both witnesses, who must acknowledge that the will has been signed  The Will must be created by the testator’s own free will
  5. 5. REASONS FOR CONTESTING A WILL There are many reasons for which a person or beneficiary can have for disputing a Will. A few of the reasons are as follows: • A beneficiary may dispute their inheritance (under the Will itself or under intestacy rules in the Inheritance Act 1975) • A professional negligence claim against any professional (such as a Solicitor or Will writer) who negligently drafted the Will • Disagreements may arise between the creators of the Will • The deceased did not have a sufficient mental capacity to satisfy legal requirements when they created the Will
  6. 6. REASONS FOR CONTESTING A WILL • The Will itself is fraudulent • The Will was not validly created. Home made Wills are particularly likely to contain errors or be executed incorrectly • The Will is not the last Will and Testament of the deceased. For example, another Will may exist • The deceased’s Will cannot be found There are many other reasons for which you can contest a Will. To find out more, visit our website:
  7. 7. TIME LIMITS • Any action to contesting a Will must be enforced within 6 months from the grant of probate • Therefore, it is a very good idea to lodge your dispute immediately prior to the grant of probate • This means that any claims should ideally be enforced within 6 months from the date of death • As you may have guessed with contesting a Will, the time limits are quite tight • We therefore recommend you contact a specialist Solicitor immediately to obtain professional legal advice
  8. 8. HOW TO CONTEST A WILL • The first step for you to take is to decide upon your reasons for contesting a Will. These reasons will then form the grounds on which your case is made • After your reasons have been established, a ‘caveat’ can then be lodged at the Probate Registry. This ‘caveat’ prevents a grant of probate from occurring without a notification being made to you • If an injunction is granted against probate, this will halt any verification of beneficiaries under the Will • This means it is vital that you lodge a caveat before the grant of probate happens. If not, it may be too late to contest the Will
  9. 9. HOW TO CONTEST A WILL • After you have lodged a ‘caveat’, the beneficiaries under the Will may counter-issue you with a ‘warning’. This will apply whether you personally are a beneficiary or not • This warning means that they disagree with your claim. This could be due to you not having any entitlement under the Will or that they are satisfied with the validity of the Will • If a ‘warning’ documentation is issued, you will need to decide whether or not to proceed with contesting the Will • You will need to bear in mind that further action may lead to issuing legal proceedings and a potential court case
  10. 10. BONALLACK & BISHOP For more information on contesting a Will, or to get in touch with one of our excellent Solicitors, visit our website today: