Challenging a Will
Here at Pepperells, we understand that it is always a difficult time in somebody’s life after suffering a loss, with many people to contact and things to organise. However, we are seeing more instances where people have been left out or removed from a Will prior to a loved one’s death, leaving more stress and upset for the people left behind.
Every person in the UK has the right to testamentary freedom which means they are able to leave their assets to whomever they choose when they pass away. This unfortunately can result in some people who ordinarily would expect to receive a share of the estate missing out, which can often leave family members hurt and confused.
You may be thinking ‘how am I not entitled to any of the estate’, ‘How have I been left out of my parents’ Will’ or ‘did they have capacity to make that Will’? There are different avenues for a contentious probate claim and challenging a Will, which are outlined below.
Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependents) Act 1975
This act allows certain categories of people to bring a claim against an estate if they feel they have not been left a reasonable provision in a Will.
Bringing a claim under this act is not easy and can be quite time consuming and costly, with no guarantee of success. If, however, you feel that you have been left out of a Will, despite being financially dependent on the person who has died, please do not hesitate to contact us for an appointment.
Capacity and Undue Influence
Another way to potentially challenge a Will is to allege that the Will is invalid due to lack of capacity or undue influence. Maybe you are concerned that a relative was not aware of the contents of their Will before they signed it. They could have been suffering from an illness which affected their capacity at the time of signing, or perhaps you felt somebody else was influencing them to make their Will in a certain way.
If you have any concerns similar to these, you may be able to challenge the validity of the Will. If you successfully challenge a Will on these grounds, this would potentially mean a previous Will may be reinstated or the deceased would die intestate (in which case the law dictates who will receive the estate). Therefore, careful thought needs to be given before proceeding with any claim and you should seek legal advice to understand the implications of making a claim.
If you think you have been left out of a Will, or have concerns about the circumstances in which a Will was created, please do not hesitate to contact a member of our Private Client Team who will be able to discuss this further.
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People often turn to us when its too late. If you or your family have questions which are of concern, don’t hesitate to contact us. It is far better to talk through any perceived problems now and to allow to offer some practical solutions to avoid expensive and distressing problems later on.