It is upsetting enough when a close family member dies, and in many cases, a family member feels they have been unfairly treated when it comes the deceased person’s estate and how it is to be divided. This can come about due to many reasons; it might be that the deceased had promised a family member a portion of their estate, yet there is no mention of this in their will, or perhaps a person feels that the executor of the will is not acting according to the deceased person’s wishes.
The Proper Channels
There are special family courts that listen to will disputes and make judgements based on the evidence put forward, and by using contested wills and probate lawyers, it is possible to have a will made invalid. The key to a successful will contestation lies with the lawyer who is putting the case together, and should a specialist wills and probate lawyer feel there is insufficient evidence, he or she would not recommend lodging an objection to the will.
Careful Case Preparation
In order to successfully dispute a will in the UK, you will need to have solid evidence to support your claim, which is where the expertise of the lawyer comes into play. In many cases, the dispute can be settled out of court, which saves everyone time and money, and it is your lawyer’s negotiation skills that will determine the details of that settlement.
Those Eligible for Will Dispute
In order to dispute a will, you must be one of the following:
- Spouse of the deceased
- Civil partner of the deceased
- Child of the deceased
- Have a financial dependency on the deceased
There are strict timelines involved when contesting a will, and if you think you have been unfairly treated in a family member’s will, you should contact an experienced wills and probate lawyer as soon as possible.
Grounds for Will Dispute
The grounds for which a will can be disputed include:
- Mental Incapacity
- Undue Influence
- Lack of Knowledge and Approval
An elderly person, for example, might be influenced by a family member to make alterations to their will, and if this can be proven, the chances of a successful claim are very good. The person might sign an amendment to their will without being fully aware, or might make changes to their will while not having full possession of their faculties, which does happen.
The Importance of Expert Legal Counsel
It cannot be overemphasised how important it is to receive good legal advice when contesting a will, and should you need some assistance, or would like to know if you have a case for disputing a deceased family member’s will, an online search will put you in touch with an experienced wills & probate lawyer.
Without the help of an experienced specialist lawyer, the chances of successfully contesting a will are significantly reduced, so make sure that you seek out experienced legal counsel at the earliest opportunity.