A will is a legally binding document through which an individual decides how they will divide their wealth and property after their death. However, if potential beneficiaries are unhappy with the result of a will, or believe that there has not been enough provision made for them, it is possible to challenge wills under specific grounds. Contesting a will can be a long and complex process, and below are some of the most frequent questions answered.
Can You Challenge a Will?
Wills are legally binding documents that people write in order to ensure that their assets are divided as they wish. While this may mean that wills are not easy to challenge, it is certainly possible to do so with the right grounds and under the right circumstances. Although challenging a will is not a regular occurrence, there have been many successful cases where disappointed beneficiaries have been able to overturn a relation’s will.
How Can You Challenge a Will?
You can challenge executor of will under specific grounds. These include:
- If you believe that forgery has been involved in the signing of the will or its contents
- If you believe that the deceased had a mental capacity before their death that was unfit for understanding the contents of the will
- If they were the victim of undue influence from another beneficiary while writing the will
- If you believe that the will was invalid, for example, that it did not meet specific legal regulations.
To challenge a will, you should seek a solicitor who can ensure that you have strong enough evidence to succeed, and help to guide you through your options.
Who Can Challenge a Will?
Blood relations of the deceased are the main category of people that can challenge a will. However, spouses, adopted children, creditors in lieu of money from the estate, financial dependents of the deceased and those who were previously promised items in the will all have valid claims when challenging probate.
What Does it Cost to Challenge a Will?
The cost of the will highly depend on the length and severity of the case. However, if the case goes to court, you should expect solicitor and court fees of over £100,000. Not only this, but if you lose the case, you may be liable to pay these, and they do not automatically come from the contents of the estate.
Will I Need to Go To Court?
Many people opt to attempt to resolve their probate contest through mediation before going straight to court, and many cases are resolved in this way. Not only is this less stressful, but it can help you to maintain family relations during inheritance fights. Mediation for probate cases includes holding a discussion between beneficiaries in an attempt to reach a resolution, monitored by an unbiased third party. If the case is not resolved through this, you may have to then go to court to ensure that a judge can preside over your case and balance the evidence.
What are the Time Limits?
In some cases, the time limit to contest probate is six months. However, in most cases, there is no time limit, and you can contest probate many years after the assets of the will have been dispersed.