How to Contest a Will
There are lots of ways to contest wills and the most common are as follows :-
This is when there is an actual issue with the will itself for example :-
- The original will has been lost
- A copy of the will can only be found
- It is not be signed or witnessed correctly
- It may have been torn
- There maybe writing on the will after it is has been signed
Claims for reasonable financial provision
These claims arise under the Inheritance Act 1975, and enable a claim to be made for reasonable financial provision.
Broken promise claims
The legal term is proprietary estoppel and these types of claim arise when the deceased made a promise which was relied upon and the person relying upon it suffered a detriment.
Lack of capacity on the person making the will
There is an established principle in English law that the person making the will MUST :-
- Know he is making the will and what effect it has
- Understand the property he has and who will be getting it
- Appreciate and understand what steps he should be taking in relation to his estate
Thus if there are medical grounds upon which you believe the deceased did not have the capacity to understand that he/she was making the will for example, through dementia then you may well have grounds to contest a will.
In all cases in which capacity is an issue we will always request the deceased’s medical records to see whether there are any entries that are relevant such as Memory testing scoring etc or reference to the deceased’s mental capacity.
There is something known as the Golden Rule, which provides that a solicitor or person making a will, if they are concerned about the capacity of the deceased ought to obtain medical evidence before the deceased made the will. This is another factor we will carefully look at when determining whether to contest a will on grounds of a lack of capacity.
Lack of Knowledge and Approval
This is when a will is challenged on the basis that a testator might NOT have known and approved on the contents of a will.
This is when the testator may have been effectively forced into making a will.
Often these types of claim arise when influence is exerted by family members upon the deceased.
Forgery of a will
These types of claim arise when the will has been deliberately altered, destroyed or the signature of the deceased forged.