Challenging a Will – tips for contesting

The death of a family member is in itself a sad event with a huge amount of emotional turmoil as one goes through the grieving process. At the time, considering the legal implications and understanding the ramifications of the last will and testament is often the last thought on your mind. If and when the will is contested there are even bigger headaches to come and turning to professional legal teams is often the best recourse.

The main reasons behind contesting a will lie in the following:-

1) Invalidity of the will itself. Was the testator (the person who wrote the will) in some way coerced or not of sound mind at time of writing the will or was it improperly signed and witnessed

2) While not contesting the will’s validity, where you as a child, dependant or spouse are inadequately provided for within the will.

Nobody really wants to go through the process of challenging a will but if you need to take this avenue, we would suggest the following tips should you need to dispute a will:-

1) In the case of your belief that you weren’t adequately provided for within the will, reflect on your relationship with the deceased. At present, there is a limited selection of people who may be able to contest this type of claim. These include the current or previous spouse, any child or person being treated as a child or any individual being maintained before the death of the deceased. As with all legal issues, there are a myriad of different interpretations and seeking legal advice is best practice.

2) The time limits on disputing or contesting a will stands at 6 months after the grant of probate so ensuring that you get the process started is imperative (although this time limit does not apply if you are contesting the validity of the Will – there is no time limit for that).

3) Communicate. Nobody wants a legal wrangling and break down of relationships in what is already a harrowing time. Ideally, but not always achievable, try where possible to continue communicating with all parties involved to seek an amicable agreement.