Challenging the Validity of a Will – Tips by our expert, Paul Fleming, who specialises in this area:
It is possible to challenge the validity of a Will on a number of grounds; please see the main reasons below. Most disputes about validity centre on ‘mental capacity’ but others are about ‘undue influence’ which may include allegations of duress or coercion. Homemade Wills, especially those that don’t see the light of day until after the Deceased has died, are more likely to be challenged for validity than those prepared by Solicitors.
A person making a Will must be capable of understanding the nature of what they are doing and have a good grasp of the extent of what they own. Accusations of ‘incapacity’ often arise in cases of advanced age and frailty.
This can range from ‘constant badgering’ by a friend or relative so as to be included in a Will, to all-out threats and coercion.
Want of Knowledge or Approval
Are the terms of the Will exactly what the Testator intended? Is this the document they intended to be their Last Will & Testament?
Non-Compliance with Law or Statutory Requirements
Under this ground we can lump a number of things. Starting at basics, a Will must be in writing, signed by the person making it and that person’s signature must be witnessed by at least two other people who are also present at the time.
Disputing the Interpretation of the Will or Specific Terms
Testators who did not get good competent legal assistance in writing the Will might create confusion as to what was actually meant or might cause legacies to fail. The wording in the Will might not cater for the scenario of the Deceased owning a replacement house at the time of their death ,or a new car, or a different bank account than the one named, or for relatives dying or new ones being born. Disputes can arise also over ambiguity in the wording.
At Owen Kenny, we offer sympathetic handling of disputes concerning Wills and Inheritance; call us on 01243 532777 or email Paulfleming@owenkenny.co.uk