The grievance process is difficult enough, but it can be made significantly longer if a will dispute is needed. Many loved ones may be hurt and angry if they feel as though they have not been adequately covered in a final testament, which then leads to a will being contested.
Our solicitors at The Inheritance Experts are experts in the area of will contesting: contact us for legal advice if you believe a will should be contested, whether it is on behalf of yourself or someone else.
What it Means to Contest a Will
Contesting a will means that a party close to the deceased feels as though they disagree with how the assets have been shared out within a will, such as not feeling as though they have received what they are fairly owed, or due to negligent behaviour.
Grounds to contest a will include:
- Fraudulent wills
- Forged wills
- A lack of knowledge
- Testamentary capacity
- Lack of valid execution
In order to contest a will, the individual needs to have the legal right to do so. That means that contesting can only be made by the following:
- A spouse
- Direct family members
- An individual who relied on the deceased for financial reasons
- A creditor to whom the testator was in debt to
- An individual promised an asset by the deceased, but did not receive it in the will
How Long You Can Expect the Process to Take
Contesting a will relies on time, both with a time limit to submit your case, and then the time frame you can expect to wait following the opening of the case.
- The Time Limit
You have until the executor has begun the process of distributing the testator’s assets in accordance with their Final Will and Testament, after being granted probate. Where it is possible to submit a claim after the commencement of distribution, it’s advised that it is done beforehand to make for an easier process.
As with anything, as soon as possible is always beneficial, and the earlier you begin, the more likely it will be that you succeed.
The only time that no exact time limit is advised would be in the case of fraud, wherein you would have as long as is necessary.
- The Expected Time Frame after Commencing the Case
The process is not likely to be dealt with quickly. In the first instance, the best way to resolve the dispute is via the means of mediation, which can be a long process. There is always the risk that mediation may not be successful, in which case the contesting will then have to be presented to the court.
From then on, there is no designated time frame regarding how long the court may take to make a decision: it may take a few months, but it could take anything up to a few years. It also depends on how complicated the case is.
Therefore you should expect the overall process to take a couple of years, and anything less will be an advantage.