What are the Chances of Successfully Contesting a Will?
Contesting a will is a legal process whereby a person challenges the validity of a will. This can happen if there are concerns about the way the will was made or executed, or if the contents of the will are seen as unfair or unreasonable. In the UK, there are specific rules and regulations around contesting a will, and the chances of success depend on a range of factors. In this article, we will explore the key considerations involved in contesting a will and the likelihood of success.
Grounds for Contesting a Will
In the UK, there are four main grounds for contesting a will. These are:
- Lack of Capacity – If the person making the will did not have the mental capacity to understand what they were doing, the will may be considered invalid. This could be due to a range of factors, such as dementia or mental illness.
- Undue Influence – If someone pressured or coerced the person making the will into leaving them a certain amount or asset, the will may be contested on the grounds of undue influence.
- Formalities – There are specific formalities that must be followed when making a will in the UK. If these formalities are not followed, the will may be invalid.
- Provision for Dependents – If the will does not make adequate provision for any dependents of the deceased, they may be able to contest the will.
What are the chances of successfully contesting a will?
The chances of successfully contesting a will depend on a range of factors, including the strength of the case and the evidence available. In general, the success rate for will contests is relatively low, with a small portion of cases resulting in a change to the will.
One of the main factors that can impact what are the chances of successfully contesting a will, is the strength of the evidence. For example, if there is clear evidence of undue influence or lack of capacity, the chances of success may be higher. On the other hand, if the case is based on speculation or hearsay, the chances of success may be lower.
Another key factor to consider is the cost of contesting a will. Legal fees can quickly add up, and if the case is unsuccessful, the person contesting the will may be responsible for paying both their own legal fees and the fees of the other party.
Alternative Dispute Resolution
In some cases, it may be possible to resolve a dispute over a will without going to court. Alternative dispute resolution (ADR) methods such as mediation or negotiation can be a more cost-effective and less stressful way of resolving disagreements. ADR can also be quicker than going through the courts, which can be a lengthy process.
The terms of the will can sometimes be renegotiated through ADR, allowing all parties to reach a mutually acceptable outcome. However, ADR may not be appropriate in cases where there is a significant power imbalance or where one party is unwilling to negotiate.
Contesting a will can be a complex and emotional process. While there are specific grounds for contesting a will in the UK, the chances of success depend on a range of factors, including the strength of the evidence and the cost of legal fees.
If you’re considering contesting the contents of a will, or would like some expert guidance on the matter, contact contact our team at Will Claim today for a free claim assessment.