How to spot a suspicious will
You may already be worried about the circumstances in which a relative or loved one drew up a will – we looked at these in an earlier blog, Spotting Suspicious Behaviour Surrounding a Will . On the other hand, you may not have had any cause for concern until you have seen the will, after the Testator has died. If, at this point, you are disappointed by the contents of the will, the will itself may raise suspicions.
If you have suspicions about a will, it may be possible to bring a claim challenging a will on the grounds that the Testator lacked knowledge of the content of the will and/or did not approve the contents of the will. If you can raise suspicions, the burden of proof shifts to the person seeking to rely on the will to show that the Testator did know and approve the contents of the will. It’s therefore helpful to be aware of pointers in the will itself that can be indicative of suspicious circumstances.
There is no need to involve a solicitor or legal expert in drafting a will, but the fact that no legal adviser has been involved may be suspicious taking in to account other factors.
Poorly written will
A will peppered with spelling mistakes, which is badly drafted, or uses language that would have confused the Testator could arouse suspicions
A will which is inaccurate or includes statements which would not be recognised as the sort of thing the Testator would say.
A radical departure from previous wills
If the disputed Will is not the first will of the Testator, and the contents are radically different from previous wills, this may well be suspicious without a sensible explanation for the change.
If the person seeking to rely on the will was not otherwise close to the Testator – for example a cleaner or carer, this may be suspicious.
Lack of independence
If those who witnessed the will cannot be said to be ‘independent’, you may have cause for concern
If the will contains any of these elements, you may well see other events at the time the will was drawn up in a different light: Odd behaviours on the part of the testator or suspicious behaviour by the person who is seeking to rely on the will that perhaps meant nothing at the time.
While challenging a will is by no means straightforward, if you are concerned about the contents of a will and would like to explore the possibility of bringing a claim, get in touch with us.