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Disputing A Will: What Is Involved?

When a loved one dies, no one wants to think about a protracted legal battle. However, if you discover that your loved one’s will is substantially different from what you expected, you might have grounds to challenge it legally.

Why Contest a Will?
There ara number of reasons why you might want to contest a will. if you have reason to believe that the will was written and or signed under duress or coercion then it can be invalidated completely. There is a time limit on filing these claims and they have to be filed within six months of the will being executed. Unfortunately, this period often overlaps with the period of grieving for your relative.

It’s unlikely that you will find the idea of fighting a legal battle while also grieving appealing, but if you want to contest a will then it is inevitable that this is what you will have to do. It can be a great shock to discover that your loved one’s will has been changed or isn’t what you expected from your conversations with them. But if you think that there are grounds for contesting it then it is important to do this as soon as possible.

Who Can Challenge a Will?
As per The Inheritance Act, which details who can and cannot contest a will, only certain people are in a position to legally challenge a will. While anyone who has reason to believe that a will is invalid can challenge the validity of the will, only certain individuals can challenge the way in which the deceased’s assets and estate are split up.
The people with the power to challenge the division of the estate are:
● Direct family members.
● A spouse, even if they are estranged.
● Any beneficiary who was named in the previous version of the will.
● Anyone who was financially dependent on the deceased.
● Any creditor who has acquired the deceased’s debt.
● Anyone who was promised assets by the deceased but is not included in the will.

What are the Grounds for Challenging a Will?
The validity of a will can be challenged on the basis that the deceased was not of sound mind when they signed the will, or that they were otherwise unaware or misled about what they were signing. A will might also be challenged if it was drawn up incorrectly or not signed in the presence of a witness. This is why it is very important to have your will drafted by a specialist and resist the urge to try and compose a DIY will.
If the signature on a will is forged, this can also give you grounds to invalidate it. The testimony of a handwriting expert can be used as evidence to support a claim of forgery.
Finally, if the beneficiaries with a right to the estate are not named in the will or do not believe they have been adequately cared for, this can be grounds for challenging the will’s validity.

If you think that you have grounds for challenging a loved one’s trust, you should contact specialist trust dispute solicitors. They will be able to advise you as to the merits of your claim and how and if you should pursue it.

Remember that time is of the essence when it comes to will and trust disputes - you must file your claim within sixmonths. No one wants to initiate legal proceedings while they are grieving for a loved one, but if you think a will is invalid then this is what you need to do.


  1. This is great information that you don't see very often. Thanks for sharing!


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