On what grounds can a Will be disputed?
The most common grounds for a Will to be disputed include:
The person making the Will must have sufficient mental competence when providing instructions for a will, making any changes to their Will and when executing their will. If there are any concerns as to a person’s mental capacity around the time that they dealt with their will, it may be possible to challenge the validity of the will.
When making a will, a person must be free to make their Will voluntarily and must not be forced into signing a Will. They also must not be influenced into including certain people, or making certain gifts, as a result of pressures from other parties. If you do not believe that a will accurately reflects a person’s true wishes and intentions, and that this was due to the influence of another person, it may be possible to challenge the validity of the will.
Invalid execution of the Will
A will is considered to have been invalidly executed if the Will is not duly signed by the testator, if the witnesses did not sign the Will at the same time as the testator or if it was not witnessed by two witnesses at all.
If you have any concern as to whether a will was properly executed, we can conduct investigations into this and provide you with advice on the execution of the will.
Lack of knowledge and approval
When making a Will, the testator must understand and approve the contents of the Will as well as having a firm understanding of their estate value and assets, and how the terms of their Will would distribute such assets.
If you suspect that the deceased did not have a full understanding of their will, or the effect it would have, it may be possible to claim that they did not have the requisite knowledge and approval for the will to be valid.
There are a number of examples of fraudulent Will cases, including (but not limited to):
- When an original copy of a Will has been intentionally destroyed
- When a Will has not signed in the presence of both witnesses
- When the signature on a Will isn’t that of the person making the Will
- When a person is misled to believe they are signing another document, when in actual fact they have signed a Will
If you suspect that there may have been some fraudulent activity surrounding a will, we can carry out investigations into the matter and provide you with advice on the options available to you.
Caveats, Warnings and Appearances
If you are looking to challenge the validity of a will, we recommend entering a caveat against the estate, if probate has not yet been granted. A caveat stops probate being granted or letters of administration being issued. This means that the estate is ‘frozen’ and cannot be administered or distributed. A caveat is not appropriate for Inheritance Act claims and should not be used in such a circumstance.
Alternatively, if you are an executor or beneficiary of an estate that has a caveat entered against it, and would like for it to be removed as you do not believe that it is appropriate, we can help you with this by entering a warning.
If you are in need to any advice, or action, in relation to a caveat, please do get in touch and we will be able to help you.
It is important to ensure your Will is enforceable and that it accurately expresses your wishes. If you need to draft a will, or amend or replace your current will, get in touch with our will writing experts: Will writing & probate law.
Get in touch
If you are experiencing a dispute in regards to a Will or which to bring a claim in relation to a Will, get in touch with Stephensons today to see how we can help. You can call us on 0161 696 6178 or complete our online enquiry form and someone will contact you as soon as possible.