Contesting a Will – suspicious pointers
We find that there are patterns of behaviour or similar facts which often mean there are likely to be genuine grounds for contesting a will. To try and assist, we have listed a number of them below:-
1. Even before death, there are often suspicious patterns of behaviour.
2. For instance, an unlikely friendship between the person making the will and a stranger. Following that difficulty in contacting the person making the will and/or unfounded suspicions by that person against you.
3. During this period there can be a deliberate attempt by the new benefactors of the deceased’s estate, to take over all communications on his or her behalf and/or to prevent communications with close family.
4. At this time, it is also often the case that the will writer is becoming more reliant on a particular individual and may be suffering from mild to severe memory or other mental health problems. One way an individual can manipulate the will writer is by pandering to their whims notwithstanding they have been given clear advice by professionals against a particular thing or action. A typical example might be the provision of alcohol or a willingness to allow the person to continue to drive, notwithstanding clear professional advice against these things. Well-meaning close relatives who refuse to allow them are often hounded away.
5. Other red flag pointers include the use of a new Solicitor to change a Will (not the usual family solicitor) and often a change to a new GP.
6. Accusations of manipulation against close family members can often flow where a particularly devious individual plants these thoughts notwithstanding there is not the slightest real evidence of this and in fact the will writer has been prevented from communicating with close family members during the preceding period.
7. When the will writer dies, there is often no attempt to communicate that to the close family who will sometimes only find out by accident.
8. Then their subsequent attempts to find out if there is a will are met with the retort “you are only interested in the money” and/or with an outright denial of any knowledge of a will (notwithstanding subsequent information comes to light revealing that person played an important role in the formation of what becomes the disputed will).
9. Attempts to hide the existence or actual copy of the will are likely to persist after the death. Solicitors involved in this process will refuse to release a copy to interested relatives on what frankly is the spurious ground that it is confidential to the deceased (spurious because once a will has been admitted to probate it becomes a public document!!). The reason for this reluctance to reveal the contents of the will is quite simply to prevent the close relatives from realising what has been done given if they do, they can stop the grant of probate by entering a caveat and thereafter pursue their claim to contest the will.
10. Normally one would expect there to be a grant of probate within say 3 months of death. However, it is also often the case the grant application has been pre prepared in advance of death, so that it can be rushed through after the death. Again, this is an attempt to stop a successful challenge against the validity of the will.
11. Another quite telling action (and quite upsetting), is the hijacking of the funeral itself by individuals who have nothing to do with the family of the deceased. Also at the funeral there can be attempts to exaggerate the importance of “friends” over the family of the will writer and to minimise or denigrate the importance of family to him or her.
If you consider that any of these apply to you, then please do not hesitate to contact us for a confidential no strings chat.