If you believe somebody’s will is incorrect or that it has been implemented incorrectly, you may have cause to contest it or claim against the deceased’s estate.
In this blog, we explain how to contest a will, when it is appropriate to do so and what to expect from the process.
When Can You Contest a Will?
You can contest a will only if you are the deceased’s spouse, child, cohabitee or financial dependent. There must be valid legal grounds to contest a will. This can include:
- Lack of testamentary capacity, meaning the deceased was not of sound mind when they signed the will.
- Lack of due execution, meaning the deceased did not follow proper procedure when they signed the will.
- Undue influence, meaning there’s evidence the deceased was manipulated into making a will to benefit someone influencing them.
- Fraud, meaning the will has been forged or includes false terms.
How Long Do You Have to Contest a Will?
The sooner you act in contesting a will, the better. There are time limits for making claims, with limits varying according to the nature of the claim. Time limits on the following common claims are as follows:
- 6 months from the issue of the grant of probate to claim for reasonable financial provision.
- 12 years from the date of death for a beneficiary disputing a will.
- No time limit for fraud.
How Do You Contest a Will
Step 1: Seek Legal Advice
If you think you have grounds to contest a will, seek legal advice from a solicitor who deals with contested probate. They will advise you on the next steps and help you make a claim within the time limits.
Step 2: Lodge A Caveat
A caveat can often be entered to pause the probate process so that your claim can be considered. This gives space for the claim to be resolved without it having to go to court.
Step 3: Take Court Action
If the dispute cannot be resolved out of court, it’s time to submit a formal court claim. The court then decides whether the will should be upheld and if not, how the estate should be distributed in line with intestacy law. Disputes can be lengthy and expensive which is why it’s favourable to reach an agreement outside of court first.
Get In Touch
For more information about contested probate or to discuss your own case, contact Bowsers Solicitors to arrange a consultation.
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