Contesting a will
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Reasons for contesting a will
A will can be contested for the following reasons:
- Lack of due execution: This means the will may not valid because it does not meet the formal requirements. For example, it could be that the will has not been signed by the deceased person and two witnesses or it is not in writing. If you are planning to write a will,
- Lack of testamentary capacity: The testator must be capable of understanding that they are making a will and the extent of the property of which they are disposing.
- Revocation: If the will has been revoked by the testator.
- Undue influence: If you can prove that the testator was put under pressure or coerced into writing, amending or signing the will, in a way in which they would not have drafted the will if they had been free of undue influence, the will can be contested.
Who can claim?
Any person who can prove an interest in the will or distribution of the estate, can claim.
How much can be claimed?
A claim for a will challenge would set aside the will and the last previous valid will would stand as the last will. If there is no such will or the terms are unknown, the intestacy rules will apply.
What is the time period for making a claim?
If you believe the will can be contested, seek legal advice as soon as possible. The time limits for claiming can vary dependant on the circumstances, so the sooner you act the better.
If the property has already been shared out, can I still claim?
Yes, but the sooner you act the better. The claim is more straightforward if the estate is still undistributed.
You can recall property to an estate, but recovery can be difficult. Prospects are much better if it is before distribution.
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