Losing a loved one can be a very difficult time; stress levels are raised and it is inevitably a very emotional time for everyone involved. If you then find that you disagree with the Will, things can become even harder.
Contesting a Will isn’t something that you do every day, and most people don’t really know exactly what is involved. From who can contest a Will to upon what grounds a Will can be contested, here are a few facts that you should know before you go ahead.
When can you Contest a Will?
Prior to a person’s death, if you find out that you disagree with a person’s Will, there is nothing you can do about it. A Will can only be challenged after a person has died.
A will can only be contested after a person has died
After a death, you can either contest the Will before or after it is sent to probate. If possible, it is better to contest it before it is sent to probate as the responsibility then lies with the person who filed the Will for probate. It is their responsibility to prove the testator’s capacity when the Will was written that the Will was executed within the required formalities and that the Will is up to date and was never revoked.
If it is contested after the Will has been sent for probate, then the responsibility lies with the person contesting the Will, which can be harder.
What Grounds can you Challenge On?
There are many different grounds upon which you can challenge a Will. If you do not believe that the Will was executed appropriately, then you can challenge it. It’s advisable though to think carefully before you contest a will. If family members are not adequately provided for, or you believe that the Will executed was out of date and not the most recent one in existence you can also put forward a challenge.
In addition, if you believe the testator was coerced into writing the Will, or were not mentally stable you can contest the decision. Finally, if evidence of Will tampering is present, then you can again, put forward a challenge.
The best way to find out whether or not you have grounds for contesting a Will is to seek out professional advice.
Who can Challenge a Will?
If you are a spouse, family member (by blood or adoption) or were reliant upon the deceased then you will be able to contest the Will. If you do not fall into this category then it is recommended that you seek professional advice, as they will be able to tell you whether or not you are eligible to lodge a challenge.
Children of the deceased are placed well to contest a will
You must be able to prove your relationship to the deceased too. This is usually quite easy for a spouse or child, but if you are adopted you may need to find your adoption certificate as proof.
How much will it Cost?
Contesting a Will can cost a lot of money, as you will be responsible not only for your solicitor’s fees, which vary depending on the firm, but you will also have to pay the court costs should it go that far. Solicitor’s fees can be very expensive particularly if the case is complex, so it’s definitely worth seeking out professional advice about whether you have a good claim or not before pursuing a case.
As well as being financially expensive, you’ll be expended emotionally and in terms of your time. This is worth taking into consideration too.
There is a lot involved in contesting a Will, so it’s very important that you are sure you want to go ahead and it’s essential that you know the important facts, so that you can consider all your options. However, if you believe the Will should not remain uncontested and you have a strong case, putting forward a challenge could well be the right action to take.