McHale & Co. Solicitors Blog

Challenging Wills

In the vast majority of cases our loved ones make straight forward wills which leave their assets to their children, close relatives and dependants. There is therefore, most of the time, no issue in respect of questioning and challenging how a will disposes of an estate.

However, sometimes for whatever reason, an individual who may well very legitimately and fairly expect to be provided for by a will are not provided for.

A common example are an individual who remarries into another family leaving provision for their “new family” but not for their “old family”. Another example, is an elderly relative who leaves the vast majority of their estate to charitable causes which they were interested in, when they have sons and daughters trying to make ends meet.

Just because you are not left anything or enough in someone’s will does not mean that that is the end of the story.

A potential beneficiary may have a will declared invalid if the individual did not have testamentary capacity, were unduly influenced, if it was made fraudulently or they did not have knowledge and understanding of the content of the will.

Having the will declared invalid can be difficult unless there is contemporaneous evidence to support one of the grounds upon which a will can be declared invalid.

Another option, in order to avoid the high hurdles of having a will declared invalid, would be to bring the claim against the estate pursuant to the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975. If you were the spouse, partner that they had been with for at least two years, son or daughter or dependant, you have standing to bring a claim under the Act.  You can claim if the will has not left you with reasonable financial provision in all other cases except spouses. If you are a spouse, you are entitled to the same amount, in effect, as if you divorcing the testator and therefore would receive much more.

If you have an issue regarding the contents of a will we are able to advise you on all aspects of the above. Please contact us for a free consultation on 0161 928 3848 or by email at mch@mchaleandco.co.uk

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