Worried about a loved one’s will?

If you’ve got concerns about how a loved one’s estate has been divided following their death, in certain circumstances you might be able to contest the will – a situation known as contentious probate.

How can I contest a will?

You will need to establish valid legal grounds for the challenge. This may be the case if your loved one did not have the required mental capacity when the will was made, if they were coerced into making the will, or if the will was forged or otherwise fraudulent.

The other and most common ground for contesting a will is financial provision. To make a claim for financial provision you will need to fall within a category of person who can make a claim, such as a spouse, child, or someone who was being financially maintained during the lifetime of the deceased.

Where should I start?

If you disagree with how your loved one has divided up their assets, you’ve got just six months following probate to make a claim. It can be a complicated area of law, and cases can sometimes end up in the High Court.

Victoria Matthews, a litigation specialist at Cartridges Law, says that if you are planning to make a claim on an estate, there are three things to remember:

  1. Seek legal advice at the earliest possible opportunity.
  2. Be prepared to negotiate. Go into the process with a willingness to mediate.
  3. Remember there is a finite amount of money available, so any legal costs will have to come out of your share of the will.

To reduce the risk of a disputed will and make the probate process more straightforward for your loved ones after your death, it is a good idea to get your will prepared by a legal professional. They will ensure the will is valid and stored safely until it is needed.

If you’re considering contesting a will, contact us for an initial conversation with a member of our private client team.