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Contesting a Will – do I have a case?

16 February 2021 Written by Pearsons & Ward Solicitors Category: Wills and estates

Will disputes are becoming increasingly common due to an increase in the elderly population, a rise in dementia and Alzheimer’s sufferers, changes in family structures and the increasing value of estates. 

A Will needs to satisfy a number of criteria to be valid. The presence of any of the factors below may invalidate a Will:

  • Lack of mental capacity when the Will was made.
  • Lack of knowledge and approval of the terms of a Will.
  • Undue influence. This needs to be more than mere persuasion but something that overpowers the will of the person making the Will.
  • Fraud and forgery.
  • Will not properly executed. There are certain formalities set out by the Wills Act 1837 which must be satisfied. This includes a Will being in writing, signed and witnessed.

Although there is technically no time limit to bringing one of the above claims, it is very important that any Will dispute is brought quickly. If it is not, there is a risk that an Estate could be distributed and the proceeds spent. A delay in pursuing a claim could also be used as a defence to it.

There are also other methods to challenge the distribution of an estate:

  • If you were in certain categories of relation to the deceased, or dependent on them, you may be able to make a claim for reasonable financial provision under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975. There is a time limit of six months from the date of the grant of probate or administration, so you must act quickly.
  • If you were promised an inheritance and have not received it, and have relied on that promise which has led to your disadvantage, then you may be able to make a claim.

For more information contact us today on Malton 01653 692247 or York 01904 716000, Wetherby 01937 583210

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