If you are considering contesting the will of a loved one or relative, it is vital that you are aware of the processes involved before you start to contest it. Whether you believe that the will is unfair, hasn’t been created legally or that the deceased had been pressured into making certain people beneficiaries, this guide will help you to navigate the often complex world of contesting probate.
Contesting a will or contesting the process of probate – when a will has already been accepted as being valid – can only be done by certain people. These people include the deceased’s living relatives, those who were a beneficiary in a previous will and those that have significant reason to believe that they should be a beneficiary in the latest will, such as if a promise has been made to the person by the deceased.
In addition, a contest of probate must also fall under one of a few categories. These categories include;
- The will being invalid
- The deceased lacking mental capacity at the time the will was drawn up and signed
- The will being forged
- The deceased being coerced or pressured when drawing up the will
It is also important to remember that the time limits for contesting probate are strict. Therefore, you should make sure that you contest the will or the probate process within six months in some cases. However, in some circumstances, there is no time limit as to when you can contest the will.
How to Contest a Will
Contacting a specialist solicitor
If you are considering contesting a will, it is important to find out whether you have a viable claim. This is where The inheritance Experts come in – one of our advisors will speak to you on a free, no-obligation basis and will advise you whether you have a valid claim that has a good chance of success depending upon the facts.
Finding Grounds and Evidence
If you do have a claim that potentially has a good chance of success and you choose to proceed with it, we will put you in touch with a specialist solicitor who is experienced in wills and probate cases and who has a track record in achieving positive results for their clients.
Together, you will collect any evidence that you need to make your case and your solicitor will advise you what the best grounds are on which to contest the will.
Once this is done, most solicitors will suggest that mediation with the other beneficiaries as the best possible first step to attempt to resolve the dispute.
During mediation, you will hold a discussion with the other beneficiaries led by an unbiased third party trained to help you manage your disputes. This is with the aim of resolving any existing issues, any further issues that arises during the discussions and, ultimately, guiding all of the beneficiaries to a conclusion that everyone is happy with. In many cases, mediation will resolve the claim, and the case will not need to continue.
Going to Court
If the case is not resolved through mediation though, it will go to a probate court, where a judge will balance the evidence and decide the merits of each beneficiaries’ claim, along with the wishes the deceased had expressed in their will.
Going to court can be a long and costly process though, and you may not receive a result for a number of years if the judge is unable to make a decision. As noted, the case progressing to court is also extremely expensive, and, if you lose, you may have to pay the other beneficiaries’ legal fees in full.
How we can help
At The Inheritance Experts, we work with specialist law firms who have a proven track record in handling wills and probate disputes. This means they are well-placed to help you get the proportion of the estate you are entitled to.
If you believe you have grounds to contest a will and want to know if you have a realistic claim, do not hesitate to get in touch with The Inheritance Experts via the contact form on our website or by calling 0161 413 8763.