Contesting a Will – What is a typical Will claim

What is a typical claim?

Every case is different although there are broad similarities between cases. Typically though a claim w
ill be one of two types: a claim that the Will is not valid (because there is something wrong with it) or a claim for financial provision from the estate.

What things might make a Will invalid (in other words what could be wrong with it to mean that it is defective)?
A will is not valid if it has not been properly signed by the person making the will and witnessed by two or more witnesses who have also signed it. Also if it has been forged or where the person making it did not or could not have understood what he or she was doing at the time. Finally when the person making the Will has been forced to do it.

What happens if a Will is not valid?
The estate of the individual in question will pass either under an earlier valid Will or where there isn’t one, in accordance with the rules of intestacy – in other words to their spouse and/or children. It is important to note that in these cases, a person can only pursue a claim that a will is not valid if he or she has an interest in the outcome of the dispute (in other words he or she must be a beneficiary under an earlier valid will or by the rules of intestacy)

What is a claim for financial provision and how is it different from a claim against the validity of a will?
A claim for financial provision is simply a claim for cash from the estate under an Act of Parliament called “Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975). It is not a claim that there is something wrong with the will and therefore it is not valid and must be ignored. It is a claim by immediate family (spouse, children or dependants) for financial provision where inexplicably the will makes no provision or insufficient provision. The best examples of this might be claims by or on behalf of children who are in full time education or infants, or by a widow or widower. Adult child cases are more difficult but not impossible, particularly where there is a clear financial need.
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