Being left out of a deceased person’s will is always a difficult and sensitive issue. The same also applies to circumstances where you or any other beneficiaries feel they have not been allocated as much as they are entitled to.
Contesting a will can be complex and challenging at the best of times, though is in its own right a time-sensitive process. With the Covid-19 pandemic having tragically claimed the lives of thousands of people across the UK well before their time, issues involving probate and contested wills are on the rise.
If you believe you have just cause to contest a will and would like to discuss the process or logistics of filing an official dispute while the country remains on lockdown, contact a member of the team at Aristone Solicitors today.
Typical Grounds for Contesting a Will
From a legal perspective, absolutely anyone wishing to do so can contest any will at any time and for any reason. However, in order for your complaint to be taken seriously, it is important to formally lodge your dispute at the earliest possible stage and ensure you have reasonable grounds for questioning the will.
Though all issues involving contentious probate are unique, the most common reasons for contesting a will include the following:
According to UK law, only competent adults aged 18 years or over with the mental capacity to do so are permitted to prepare a final will and testament. Where a deceased individual may have created a will without appropriate testamentary capacity, there may be grounds for a dispute. Issues that can affect testamentary capacity include conditions such as dementia, senility or being under the influence of medication.
Fraud, Forgery, and Undue Influence
This applies where there is any evidence whatsoever to suggest that the will was procured (in full or in part) by way of fraud or forgery. If a single element of the will has been manipulated without the direct, formal and recorded consent of the deceased individual, it may be declared invalid.
Presence of a Secondary Will
Complications often arise when an individual prepares more than one will, though in the vast majority of instances it is the most recent will that is declared valid. This is why it is essential to ensure that any final will and testament produced is clearly and formally dated at the time it is written.
Sufficient and Appropriate Witnesses
It is not enough to simply pen a basic outline of your wishes and leave it in a safe place. For a will to be considered legally valid, it should be signed and dated in the presence of at least two adult witnesses, who both have adequate testamentary capacity at the time.
Absence of Information or Ambiguity
Another common reason for contesting a will is the presence of ambiguous information that is open to interpretation, or any absence of information considered important by those known to the deceased individual. It could simply be that they failed to be specific enough when detailing the allocation of their assets – the responsibility subsequently being passed to their executor.
Call Aristone Solicitors…
If you would like to learn more about contentious probate or have any questions or concerns on the subject of contesting a will during the Covid-19 crisis, we’re standing by to take your call.
Contact a member of the team at Aristone Solicitors anytime for an obligation-free consultation.