Are you seeking to contest an estate or dispute a Will?
If you are in disagreement about the distribution of a deceased person’s estate or know someone who is then this article is for you.
These disputes involve inheritance and challenging the validity of a Will.
Ask yourself the following:
- Are you concerned that the testator/testatrix (the person making the Will) did not possess the requisite mental capacity to make a Will?
- Are you concerned that the Will is a forgery?
- Are you concerned that the testator/testatrix was influenced to distribute their estate in a certain way as to benefit certain individuals over others?
- Did the testator/testatrix even realise they were making a Will?
- Was the testator/testatrix aware of the contents of the Will which they signed?
- Has the Will left you what you reasonably expected and deserved or were promised?
- Do you have concerns with regard to the circumstance or way in which the Will was made?
You may challenge a Will where either the Will has not been executed correctly in accordance with the law or where you believe there was undue influence on the testator/testatrix at the time they made the Will and/or the testator/testatrix lacked sufficient mental capacity at the time of making the Will.
If you believe the Will has been validly executed and undue influence and lack of mental capacity do not come into play then you may still be entitled to contest an estate under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975 if you believe that the Will did not make reasonable financial provision for you. The 1975 Act sets out who is permitted to make a claim. Please be aware that a claim under the 1975 Act must be made within 6 months of the grant of representation therefore it is crucial that you act fast if you believe you have a potential claim.
Section 1 (1) sets out the various categories of people who are able to make a claim under the 1975 Act:
Where after the commencement of this Act a person dies domiciled in England and Wales and is survived by any of the following persons:—
(a) the spouse or civil partner of the deceased;
(b) a former spouse or former civil partner of the deceased, but not one who has formed a subsequent marriage or civil partnership;
(c) a child of the deceased;
(d) any person (not being a child of the deceased) who in relation to any marriage or civil partnership to which the deceased was at any time a party, or otherwise in relation to any family in which the deceased at any time stood in the role of a parent, was treated by the deceased as a child of the family;
(e) any person (not being a person included in the foregoing paragraphs of this subsection) who immediately before the death of the deceased was being maintained, either wholly or partly, by the deceased;
You must fall into one of the above categories in order to make a claim under the 1975 Act.
The next stage you must consider is whether you have reasonable grounds to make a claim.
The points to consider here are as follows:
- The Will does not reflect the deceased’s wishes and therefore there is a mistake of fact (e.g. by the solicitor drafting the Will)
- The deceased lacked mental capacity and did not fully understand the meaning and defect of what was in the Will
- The deceased was unduly influenced when making the Will
- The deceased failed to execute the Will correctly
- You feel that you were unfairly treated and not sufficiently provided for or disinherited entirely from the estate and you were maintained by the deceased
If any one of these grounds apply to your situation then you may be able to contest the estate under the 1975 Act.
Our Private Client Team are here to help
Our team have a wealth of experience in dealing with such matters and a sensitive and tailored approach to each client’s needs.
If you are concerned about the validity of a Will and believe you may have a claim or are seeking to contest the distribution of an estate please call us on 020 8669 5145 or email us on email@example.com