Contesting a Will – Frequently Asked Questions
Top Frequently Asked Questions about Contesting a Will
How to Contest a Will
There are a number of ways a will can be contested. You can contest the validity of a will on the following grounds:
- Lack of mental capacity.
- Undue influence
- Lack of knowledge and approval of the terms of the will
- Will not properly executed
- Fraud and forged wills
If a will is successfully challenged, then the terms of any previous will still in existence will take effect.
Alternatively, if there is no previous will, then the rules of intestacy apply. This broadly means that married partners and/or close relatives will inherit.
Who Can Contest a Will?
A will can be contested by a large class of people, including:
- Beneficiaries or potential beneficiaries named in a will
- Individuals or organisations promised an inheritance
- Individuals or organisations who have been disinherited
- Other third parties affected by the present will or a previous will
Individuals who are or were related to the Deceased or who were dependant upon the Deceased.
We will advise you from the outset whether or not you are able to contest a will.
Contesting a Will Time Limits
There are strict time limits that apply to claims against an estate.
Some are as short as six months from the Grant of Probate.
Therefore if a person delays, the court may hold that as a result of the delay the person is no longer entitled to bring the claim. If there is good reason, then you are likely to be fine.
However, in most circumstances these time limits can be extended so you should still get in touch even if you think you may be out of time.
Can You Contest a Will After Probate?
Yes this can be done, although the process may be slightly different.
We will advise you in straight forward, clear terms as to the process.
I’ve Been Unfairly Left Out of a Will or I Don’t Think I Inherit Enough, What Can I Do?
If you think you have been unfairly left out of a will, or your inheritance is not enough, then you may be able to claim under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975.
Please get in touch and we will provide initial advice free and without obligation.
There is a Mistake in The Will, What Can I Do?
If there is a mistake in the will then you may be able to apply to court to have it rectified.
Alternatively you may be able to apply to court for the court to determine the true construction of the will.
If a mistake has been made by the solicitors who drafted the will then you may be able to bring a professional negligence claim against them for loss suffered.
The Will Has Been Lost, Damaged or Destroyed, What Can I Do?
If a will has been destroyed during the lifetime of the Deceased, then it is usually deemed to have been revoked and the terms of a previous will or the rules of intestacy may take effect.
If the will has been destroyed accidentally whilst in safe storage (for example at a solicitor’s office or will writers), then it may still be valid.
If a will has been lost, there are various enquiries we can make and places we can check (including national databases), and so if you believe a will has been lost, please do get in touch.
Can I Challenge a Gift Made Before Death?
Yes, in some circumstances a gift made before death can be challenged.
This includes if there are issues of undue influence or duress.
I Was Promised an Inheritance, What Can I Do?
If you were promised an inheritance and you relied upon that promise to your detriment, then you may be able to inherit.
What Funding Options are Available to Me?
We are as flexible as we can possibly be when it comes to funding.
In most circumstances we offer no win, no fee and in some circumstances we agree to defer our costs to the end of the matter.
We will discuss funding options with you from the outset.
I am Not Happy With The Way The Executors Are Acting, What Can I Do?
In some circumstances you can apply to remove the executors and/or bring a claim against them for losses suffered.
The following scenarios are common:
- Significant delay in administering the estate
- Failure to properly administer the estate
- Selling property for less than it is worth
- Paying money to the wrong person
- Dishonesty, including misappropriation of money and belongings
I am an Executor, How Can I Protect Myself From Potential Claims?
There are ways an executor or trustee can protect themselves against claims.
This includes by applying to court for the court to direct how they should act, or to sanction previous actions.
This is known as a Beddoe application. A Beddoe application can be useful to protect the executor or trustee from future liability.
An executor or trustee may also seek an indemnity from a beneficiary if the executor brings a claim on behalf of an estate, or on behalf of a beneficiary.
If the terms of a will are unclear, then an executor can apply to court for “construction”.
The court will then determine how the will ought to be interpreted, and the executor can then distribute the estate in accordance with the court’s direction.
Usually all parties to the will, and all parties that may be effected will need to be added to the application.
Who Pays the Costs of Legal Proceedings?
In most cases, if you are successful, then the other side will be ordered to pay a significant proportion of your costs or the costs will come out of the estate.
If you are unsuccessful and you are on a no win, no fee, then you will not have to pay your own costs.
We will advise you thoroughly from the outset as to your chances of success and the costs position.
How We Can Help
A member of our specialist team will be happy to help.
To discuss Contesting a Will FAQ’s issues, please either use the contact form on the right, email us at email@example.com or call us today on +44(0)161 941 4000 to speak to a member of our team.