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The rules regarding who can contest a will and contested probate claims are quite complex. These rules also arise in often very stressful and traumatic situations. Many people are often surprised by what is left behind by their loved ones, and also frustrated and hurt by their final wishes. This can make wills and probate claims more challenging as emotions are running high. However, our understanding and dedicated wills team look to make the process as simple and stress-free as possible. We will always act in your best interests and can help you with your contested will or probate claim. Contact us today, to find out what Lewis Nedas can do for you.

Who can contest a will?

There are a number of people who may be entitled to contest a will. The most common types of contested wills cases we see are:

Bloodline relatives – Most wills are contested by family members. These types of claimants will seek to have the will overturned and argue that the rules of intestacy should apply to the deceased’s estate. However, this is unlikely to occur where there is an earlier will. Under the law in this area, being a bloodline family member is very important. The law specifically lists those who are entitled to make a claim under the laws of intestacy, for example, the child or spouse of the deceased.

A financial dependent of the Deceased – If you or another was financially dependent on the deceased, you might be able to contest their will. The law makes provision for those who have been ‘maintained by the Deceased’ to make a claim on the deceased’s estate. This may include those who the deceased provided accommodation for or whom they helped financially.

A beneficiary under the will – If you are a beneficiary named in the will of the deceased, but have not yet received your inheritance as a result of the failure of the executries, you may be able to make a claim against the estate. If the executor is acting unreasonably and id failing to correctly distribute the estate, you may have a claim against them.

On what grounds can a will be contested?

There are a number of circumstances under which it may be necessary to challenge a will, these are:

Where financial provision is not made for family and dependents – Under the Inheritance Act 1975, a will may be contested where it does not make adequate provision for family and dependents. Only certain individuals are entitled to make a claim under this heading and claims must be brought within six months of the grant of representation.

Undue influence – An ageing but increasingly wealthy population can make older people a target for those who would seek to defraud them. It is sad but undeniable that many older people often fall prey to individuals seeking to heavily influence the way in which an older friend or relative makes their will. If you suspect that coercion or manipulation may have occurred when the deceased made their will, you may have grounds to challenge it.

Lack of Testamentary Capacity – If at the time the will was made, the deceased was not ‘of sound mind’ they may have made decisions they would not have had they been in full health. This is known as having lost testamentary capacity and is a solid ground for challenging a will.

Negligent drafting –You may be able to bring a claim against the individual who drafted the will where you believe the true intentions of the deceased were not reflected in their will. Drafting a will is a complicated process, solicitors owe a duty of care to the deceased and the beneficiaries to ensure the wished of the deceased are outlined correctly in their will.

Debt– If you are owed money by the deceased party, and have not been paid or contacted by the executor, you may be able to make a claim for the sums owed to you against the estate.

Promissory Estoppel– Increasingly, courts are beginning to recognize claims where it can be proven that the deceased made a promise or gave assurance to a claimant. The courts have been willing to uphold such claims where the claimant had heavily relied upon this promise or assurance. This type of case can be challenging. However, we can represent you under these circumstances where you have lost out as a result of a promise made by the deceased.

Forgery – If you suspect that the will or signature in the will was forged, you may have grounds to have the will overturned.

Estate Administration claims – These types of claims arise where you believe the executor is not handling the estate in the best interests of the beneficiaries. It is the role of the executor to in gather all of the assets of the estate and sell property where required. If for example, the executor sells a property for much less than it is worth, you may be able to contest this.

Why use Lewis Nedas?

Contesting a will can be difficult, it can also be difficult to have a will upheld when you stand to benefit. However, we can help you through this challenging time and build your case. Our specialist wills team have handled a great number of contested wills cases in the past, and we fully understand the complexities of these kinds of cases. We pride ourselves on our exceptional customer service and want you to feel at ease with how your case is progressing. We fully understand how stressful it can be to lose a loved one and that wills dispute can cause further discord in your family. That is why we aim to settle wills disputes quickly and professionally. Contact us today to find out how we can help.

Contact Lewis Nedas Contested Wills Solicitors based in Camden, London

If you require any further information about setting up a discretionary, bloodline or family asset protection trust, or to speak to our solicitors, please telephone us on 02073872032. Alternatively, complete our online enquiry form or contact Jeffrey Lewis or Richard McConnell.

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