Many people misunderstand the issue of contesting wills, often believing they are uncontestable.
However there are 4 fairly common reasons for a will to be challenged, and re-considered by the courts.
1. Division of relationship property
When a partner or spouse is not included in someone’s Will, it can be challenged. If a couple has been in a relationship for three or more years, or have had a child together, it is generally held that you are entitled to half of the relationship property.
2. Moral duty
When family relationships break down it does not necessarily mean that you lose the ability to be remembered in your parents will. Even if it had got to the point of “not talking to each other ”there is a strong argument that parents have a moral duty to provide some of their property to you. This argument can often be successfully extended to grandchildren, step-children being able to make the same claim.
3. Invalid Will
Especially with wills made late in life there are often grounds for the entire will being invalidated, such as it not being signed or witnessed properly, or when elderly people have been inappropriately pressured in creating their Will. There is also the matter of whether someone was in full control of their own mind at the time of making the will, and that can be sufficient grounds to have a Will challenged.
4. Promises not kept
Often a person promises money or possessions (particularly items of sentimental value) to a particular person, and this is not reflected in the Will. When a promise is made, and not kept, that is sufficient grounds to challenge a Will usually.
How do you contest a Will?
There is no better tip than “get expert legal advice”. Generally an excellent lawyer will try to seek a resolution that works for all parties without having to go to court as that can be expensive, and creating permanent relationship damage in families. If taking the matter to court is required, then you will definitely need an expert who understands both the law, and the process of navigating the issues.
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