Disputed wills and probate
Disputed wills and probate is a complex area of law. The experts at Terry Jones Solicitors are here for you, whether you have concerns over the legitimacy of a will or are a beneficiary defending your claim. With extensive experience and expertise, we understand how difficult this time can be for you and will handle your case with the upmost sensitivity and compassion.
What does disputing a will mean?
Also known as contentious probate, this is the act of challenging a will or making a claim against the estate. With people living longer and the increase in second and third marriages, disputes around wills are becoming more and more common. There is a time limit on when you can contest a will, and it can be a lengthy process – so getting the right legal support as soon as possible is highly advised.
When can you challenge a will?
There are five main ways a will can be challenged:
- Inheritance Act claims – where inadequate (or no) provision has been made for immediate family or dependents of the deceased
- Lack of capacity – when it is believed the deceased did not have the mental capacity to fully understand what they were doing when they wrote the will
- Undue influence – this is where the deceased was coerced into writing the will the way it is
- Fraud – cases of fraud include destroyed wills, forged signatures, false representation and the will being signed without the presence of two witnesses
- Promissory estoppel – this is when a promise was made, and relied upon to your cost or detriment. The promise was then not kept, often not being included in the will. A good example of this would be ‘if you work in the business, I will leave it to you’. A lot of such cases refer to farms.
Who can challenge a will?
Not everyone has the right to contest a will, but you generally do have the right to challenge it if you are:
- A direct family member (including children and grandchildren)
- A husband or wife
- A person who financially relied on the deceased
- A named beneficiary in the will, who has been disappointed by the contents of the will
- An individual who was promised something by the deceased, but was not included in the final will
It should be noted that each case is different and seeking legal advice as soon as possible is highly recommended.
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