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Where there’s a Will… there’s a war
You may think that writing a Will is the easiest and most effective way to stop any arguments after your death. But according to some people, the deceased doesn’t always know best.
Contesting a Will isn’t easy – it can be emotionally draining, costly and time-consuming. Accusations fly, families fall out and charities fight. Yet inheritance disputes are becoming commonplace.
So what is leading more people to challenge the Will and wishes of their loved one?
This growth could partly be due to an increasing number of people choosing to go it alone and ‘DIY’ their Wills. Without proper legal guidance, it’s easy to make mistakes – making it more likely that a disappointed beneficiary will contest the Will.
In addition, our family structures are changing. Difficulties and issues are compounded by complex and extended family relationships. People marry, remarry and cohabit with new partners. Or there may be children from different relationships.
Often it’s just because it appears financially worthwhile to stake a claim against the Will. Greater life expectancy and the UK property boom have resulted in an ageing and wealthy population. But this also means a greater likelihood of vulnerable and dependent adults falling victim to unscrupulous individuals, whether that’s a stranger or a friend, neighbour, carer or even a family member.
You could consider disputing a Will if you believe that your loved one was coerced into changing their wishes, or if they lacked the necessary mental capacity to write a Will.
Or your loved one may have – somewhat unexpectedly – left a significant proportion of their estate to a charity, cause or someone you don’t know, disinheriting family members in the process.
Nonetheless, if you feel that you’ve been unfairly excluded from a Will, or if you’re an executor on the receiving end of a Will challenge, it can be difficult to know where to start.
Contesting the Will of a loved one
So if you suspect that a Will is invalid, or you want to contest the Will of a loved one, what should you do?
Your first step is to speak to a contentious probate solicitor with expertise in managing Will challenges and inheritance disputes. They’ll discuss the grounds on which you can contest a Will and can investigate the circumstances under which the Will was prepared.