How to challenge a Will
Typically, the most important factor in challenging a will is time. The earlier you are able to begin the process, the better. From the outset, our advice is to get help from a legal expert who specialises in contested wills as quickly as possible. This is such a complicated and difficult field that it’s almost impossible to make any headway without that all-important legal help. If you feel you have legitimate grounds to challenge a will, whether that’s financial reasons, or there’s doubt that the person made the will with the full understanding of what they were doing, then the first thing your solicitor will do is to request a copy of the will from the executor.
Once that happens, a letter of claim can be filed contesting the will, which will need to detail the reasons why the person is challenging the will in the first place. This is usually for any one of the reasons listed above, although one of the most common reasons is that a dependent such as a child or direct relative feels that the will does not make ‘reasonable provision’ for a spouse or children.
Even if the claim goes to court there is no guarantee that the court will overturn the bequests laid out in the original will. If they find that the will makes adequate provision for a spouse or child, and that the person was in their right mind when they made the will and was not subject to any coercion, then the original will stands.
Contesting a will can be a long and complex process that requires a great deal of expertise and experience. Due to the extremely personal nature of the events surrounding inheritance, it’s a process that’s typically both emotionally charged and difficult to approach with the required impartiality. For this reason, we recommend employing the assistance of legal professionals who specialise in wills and in particular contested probate.
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Email Julie Fryer
Dispute Resolution eBrief 15 July 2019