Will Exclusion – How to Simplify a Stressful Situation
When someone close to you has passed away, it is a stressful and difficult time. Moreover, if you discover you have not been included in their Will, it may make things worse and leave you with many questions:
- How to dispute a Will?
- Can you contest a Will after probate?
- Can I contest a Will without a solicitor?
Although you could be feeling a lot of stress, you must act quickly and figure out whether you are able to dispute the terms. Otherwise, it may be too late to make any changes.
Who can contest the contents of a Will?
If you are a spouse, former spouse or current partner of the deceased and lived with them prior to their death, you may have a claim. This also applies to people who were dependant on the deceased financially, such as children, who feel like they are not supported with the current terms of the Will. There are various conditions that will need to be looked at, so get in touch and we will give advice specific to you and your situation.
Contesting the circumstances around the creation of a Will
Even if you cannot bring a claim for financial provision you may be able to contest the validity of the Will. You may be able to bring a claim for one of more reasons:
If the person signing the Will did not understand what they were signing
If the person signing the Will was persuaded or pressured to sign it
If the person signing the Will had suitable mental capacity
If the Will was not signed and/or witnessed properly
If you were dependent upon the deceased but insufficient provision was made for you
If the person making the Will promised you something but it was not in the Will
It is important to understand at an early stage how likely your claim is to succeed. Otherwise, if you proceed to court and lose, you might have to pay the opponent’s costs.
Moreover, the different reasons for the Will not being valid have different levels of difficulty to establish as well as different documents needed to prove your case. Talk to us to make sure you have all the documents you need as well as what will count towards your claim.
How Do I Dispute a Will?
First you need to be sure you have all the available information at your disposal when it comes to contesting a Will. Gather any documents that you think could help your claim and make sure you let us know about all the evidence you have. The outcome for disputed Will cases is highly dependent upon the quality of the evidence that is laid before the Court. It is therefore essential that you let us know about every piece of evidence you have, no matter how small you might consider it.
While you may wish to take your claim to Court, we often suggest mediation before any formal Court proceedings are issued. We settle many disputes by negotiating with the other side and agree a resolution to solve the dispute and reach a settlement without the cost of going to Court. We find that mediation can also help to minimise the impact on relationships between family members, which may have been damaged during the disagreement. However, there are times when meditation does not work and formal Court proceedings are issued in order to dispute the Will. In this instance, our experienced litigators will take your claim to Court. You will be kept informed every step of the way.
Can I contest a Will after Probate has been granted?
Contesting a Will after probate has been granted can be more challenging, but it is still possible in certain circumstances. Once probate has been granted, it means that the Court has accepted the validity of the Will and appointed an executor to administer the estate. We really recommend that you’re quick about letting a solicitor know if you think you have a claim, as you only have 6 months to issue a claim from the date of grant of probate. Whilst we may be able to agree an extension of this time frame with the estate representatives, there is no time to waste.
Contesting a Will without a solicitor – is it possible?
Yes, it is possible to contest a will without a solicitor, although it will be a challenging process. Contesting a Will typically involves legal procedures and understanding the relevant laws and regulations. You should consider the complexity of the process and seek professional advice if you feel unsure about the legal aspects involved. If you don’t have all the necessary information and don’t know how to issue a claim under the 75 Act, or the different burdens of proof and evidence for a claim to challenge the validity of a Will then you could jeopardise your case. There are also time limits and other deadlines, which will cause your claim to fail if you miss them – working with a solicitor will speed-up this process.
What to do if you need help
By having a chat with one of our solicitors you can rely on us to provide valuable legal guidance and increase your chances of success in contesting the Will. We can divide the work between us and tailor the process to whatever suits you and your needs.
Call our office on 01273 604 123 today so we can explain the process, as well as what information we need from you in order to provide advice. You can also email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or fill in our enquiry form.