It can be an emotional time for everyone involved when you lose a family member or loved one and this becomes even more highly charged once the Will is read and you feel that you have been unfairly excluded.
There may be a number of reasons for this exclusion but if there is no explanation in the Will, you may never know. You should give some thought to making a challenge to the Will if you think you have the legal grounds to do so.
To challenge or content a Will you need to show one or more of the following reasons:
- There was a lack of capacity to make the Will
- The Will is invalid due to errors in drafting
- The Will was made without the express knowledge or agreement of the testator (person making the Will)
- Pressure or influence was put on the person to make or change their Will
- It was fraudulently made or forged
- It was drafted negligently and needs rectification
- The Will used unclear or ambiguous wording that needs clarification
You should be aware that there are time limits in place and you have 12 years to challenge a Will from the date of death of your loved one. This excludes any challenge for fraud, where there is no time limit.
In addition to these ways to contest a Will, if you are a dependant who has been excluded from a Will or you have not been adequately provided for in the Will, you can make a claim against the estate under the Inheritance Act. This can only be successful if the estate has enough money to provide for you under the terms of this Act.
You only have 6 months from the date probate is granted to make a claim under the Inheritance Act, so it is important you speak to a specialist solicitor as soon as you can.
Finally, there will be an emotional impact if you do decide to contest a Will, it may cause serious rifts in your family that can never be healed, so you should think carefully before you make that decision.
This information provided in this article is not intended to constitute legal advice and each relationship breakdown requires careful consideration in our view by a fully qualified Solicitors before decisions are made and before you embark on a certain course of action.
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