Wills are never a very easy thing to deal with, but often the grieving and sadness of losing a loved one is made worse when there are problems with the will. If you are unsure whether you have legal grounds to contest a will or not, you have come to the right place. In the following post we outline the various grounds for will disputes that are possible in the UK
Please keep in mind that the information in the post is only applicable to issues related to wills in England and Wales, as the law is slightly different in Northern Ireland and completely different in Scotland.
Disputing a Will On The Basis of a Lack of Mental Capacity
This is one of the most common forms of will contesting. In order to successfully contest a will on these grounds, you need to show evidence that the person who made the will were not mentally capable of understanding what they were doing, within the law, to make it a valid will.
Challenging a Will On The Basis Of Undue Influence
This is another very common reason why people contest wills. In order for the challenge of a will to be successful in this situation you need to be able to show that the person who made the will was wrongly influenced by someone else towards make the will to their own benefit or someone else’s benefit.
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This is generally very hard to prove, however in situations when the person accused of influencing the person making the will is the carer or someone they were dependent on it can be a lot easier to convince the court.
Disputing a Will by Alleging Duress
When it is claimed that a will is made under duress, it means that the person making the will was forced/threatened to do it. An example of this could be that the person making the will was told to leave someone money or they’d put them in a care home.
Disputing an Invalidated Will
Often this can be used as grounds for challenging a will, normally when the will has been cancelled by a new marriage and that the will was not made in exception of the marriage. This essentially means that people could live together for many years, make their wills towards the start of their relationship, then get married, which unbeknown to them, cancels the will. Unless there is a codicil revival of the wills to make them valid again, the rules of Intestacy may well be applied which will give a very different result
It is also possible for foreign wills to cancel out UK wills and vice versa.
If A Will Is Destroyed Can I Still Be Legal?
If for whatever reason a will has been destroyed, it does not mean that it is not still valid. There have been many cases in the past when wills have been set on fire, thrown away or shredded and have remained completely legal and valid. However, for this to happen a contesting of the will normally has to have started.