Estate Disputes

Contesting wills

It is unfortunate but sometimes there are disagreements about Wills.

Whether there is uncertainty about the validity of their late relative’s Will or people feel they have not been provided for when they should have. Claims are also made over Wills relatives claim are forgeries or signed whilst not mentally capable of knowing what they were signing.

Contesting a Will can be very stressful and also very complicated, especially if the Will was home made. If you do think a Will is invalid or suspicious it is essential to seek legal advice straight away, as it will become even more difficult to resolve if the Estate is distributed.

Claims under the Inheritance (Provision for Families and Dependents) Act 1974

This Act assists relatives, or other people who relied on the Testator for financial support, to Claim for greater provision from a Will. It can also be used if there was no Will and the Intestacy Rules do not provide adequate support for those dependent on the Deceased.

The Main area where this applies is in relation to unmarried co-habiting couples.

More and more couples are co-habiting and not marrying. When one of them dies and there is no Will the surviving partner may be left severely financially disadvantaged.

Any property which was jointly owned will pass to the other person automatically, but any property held in the deceased’s sole name will fall into thier Estate and, under the Intestacy Rules, an unmarried partner does not benefit at all.

The Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975 now gives rights to the survivor of a couple, who have lived together for over 2 years, to make a Claim. This could be in the situation where there is no Will or where there is an old Will made before the couple started cohabiting.

This is why it is essential for an un-married couple to make Wills. Bringing these actions is extremely time consuming and potentially very expensive. Drafting a Will will, in the vast majority of circumstances, prevent this from happening.


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