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  • Overview

    Be aware though, there are only four possible ways to do so. 

    1. Lack of proper formalities

    The will needs to cover all of the legal formalities. Essentially this means it needs to be in writing, signed by the will maker, and witnessed by two persons who were both present with the will maker at the same time but who are not beneficiaries of the will. 

    2. Lack of testamentary capacity 

    Do you believe that the will maker had the necessary mental capacity to make a will? Three elements apply:

    i.    did he/she understand the nature of making a will and its effects
    ii.    did he/she understand the extent of the property of which he/she was disposing
    iii.    did he/she comprehend and appreciate the claims to which he ought to give effect and was he/she affected by any disorder of the mind that influenced the will in disposing of his/her property. 

    If in doubt, obtain medical records and speak to possible witnesses who knew the will maker at the time. 

    3. Lack of knowledge and approval

    The will maker must have known and approved the contents of his/her will and appreciated the extent of what he/she was giving and to whom. It is often closely related with testamentary capacity. The court will look for any ‘suspicious’ circumstances and require an explanation of these, e.g. if the relationship of the beneficiary to the will maker was not close, it may be deemed as ‘suspicious’ and further enquiries may be necessary.

    4. Undue influence

    For this challenge to succeed there must be coercion or fraud. There is a very high threshold to challenge a will on this basis and so if you have concerns, speak to a solicitor. 
     

    With regard to time limits, generally speaking in claims to challenge the validity of a will, there is no time limit. However, if you delay in bringing a claim then the court may decide that you are no longer entitled to bring your claim, so act fast.

    If you have sadly lost a parent (or husband/wife/civil partner or someone who was financially maintaining you) another option you may wish to consider is bringing a claim under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975, if a will does not make reasonable financial provision for you. The Act allows the court to vary the distribution of the deceased’s estate where it considers the provision made under the will to be unreasonable. 

    Whilst any death can be difficult for those left behind, it can be even more worrying if you face financial difficulties, and although the prospect of legal action is daunting, the possibility of being awarded a share of your loved one’s estate may just be worth pursuing. 

    Follow the link to read the rest of our: 20 Legal things series.
  • Related Services

    Dispute Resolution

    Our objective is to achieve swift, realistic results in the most cost efficient and risk free manner possible. Our Dispute Resolution team specialise in resolving a wide range of disputes for individuals.  

    Probate disputes

    When someone dies, bitter disputes can arise between family members or between family and non-family beneficiaries such as charities.

    Will disputes

    Our expert lawyers include members of The Association of Contentious Trust and Probate Specialists and are experts in dealing with these types of disputes. They will adopt a sensitive but commercial approach, looking for innovative solutions, and will strive to get the best outcome for you.

Get In Touch

By submitting an enquiry through 'get in touch' your data will only be used to contact you regarding your enquiry. If you would like to receive newsletters from Thomson Snell & Passmore please use the separate form below.

Newsletter Sign Up

General Private Client UpdatesGeneral Commercial UpdatesConstruction UpdatesCourt of Protection UpdatesAgriculture & Rural Affairs UpdatesCommercial Property UpdatesEmployment UpdatesDispute Resolution UpdatesCorporate & Commercial UpdatesCharities & Not for Profit UpdatesFood & Drink UpdatesEducation UpdatesTransport & Logistics UpdatesFamily Business & Owner Managed Businesses Updates

I agree to be ‘opted in’ to receive Thomson Snell & Passmore newsletters, event invitations and other publications that are related to the subject matter of this event or my industry sector. I understand that this means they will send me these communications by email

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Jargon Buster