If you’re currently dealing with the mixed emotions of a will that didn’t meet your hopes and expectations, then you’re not alone. In fact, the majority of us will experience some sort of issue with a will, probate, or inheritance in our lifetimes, although some will be far easier to fix or accept than others.
When a loved one’s will doesn’t fulfil a promise, we feel we were made, or an obligation that we expected (and needed) to be reflected in their final wishes, it can be far more than devastating. Alongside the grief and hurt, there can be the question of financial security. Maybe you were promised a certain amount of money you would need to pay off a debt or mortgage, or maybe the testator supported you with a regular allowance and failed to provide you with anything in their will.
Whatever the case, we can’t always just ‘take it on the chin’, particularly when we had always planned to inherit something.
Thankfully, there is still hope. An experienced will dispute solicitor can work with you to get what you are owed, although you’ll need to be prepared for a bumpy road…
How quickly do you need to contest a will?
You need to act fast. In some cases, you’ll need to file your claim within six months of grant of probate or risk missing the opportunity.
If you think there’s an issue with a loved one’s will and believe you have grounds for contesting that will, then you should reach out to a solicitor immediately.
What are the grounds for contesting a will?
To stand a chance of being successful with your claim, you’ll need to have a vested interest in the testator’s will. In other words, you’ll need to be considered a dependent, a close relative (for instance, a child or married partner) or, alternatively, have been named in a draft of the will.
There are a lot of different reasons why a will may be considered legally invalid. These include:
- Undue influence – say, from another family member who manipulated the testator into favouring them in the will.
- Forgery or fraud – perhaps the testator wasn’t even aware of the will that is now being put forward as ‘theirs’.
- Lack of testamentary capacity – if the testator is suffering from a mental condition that impacts their ability to make sound decisions, their will may not be valid.
- Want of due execution – this refers to clerical issues, usually with the signing and witnessing of the will.
How long does it take to contest a will?
It can take some time, but every case is different, and some will inevitably take a lot longer than others. You need to be prepared for a long and emotionally draining journey – one that can also be expensive. Fortunately, a lot of solicitors offer a variety of ways to fund litigation, including no-win no-fee payment options that can make it manageable.
See some more of my money-related posts here