Challenging the Validity of a Will
Validity of Wills
The vast majority of Wills are properly signed and witnessed. In some cases, they are not properly signed or executed and the Will is made in circumstances which might give rise to a question of their validity.
Some examples regarding validity of Wills include:
Did the testator have legal capacity when the Will was signed?
Was the testator aged, infirmed and/or suffering from any mental incapacity?
Were the testator’s instructions given freely, by the testator, and free from influences of other people?
Is the meaning of the Will clear?
Are there any other technical problems with the Will (in particular, homemade Wills and “Will Kit” Wills)?
Did the Will actually contain the testator’s intentions?
If you are concerned about any such matters you should immediately make an appointment to discuss the validity of the Will with one of the solicitors at White Berman Grant Legal.
Contesting the Validity of a Will
When making an Application for Probate, the Court must be satisfied that the document which is admitted to Probate is the deceased’s “last Will and testament”. Sometimes, there are circumstances which cast into doubt whether the document constitutes the deceased’s wishes.
The validity might be called into account because of the deceased’s age and infirmity, mental capacity and/or the testator was under the influence of others at the time he/she made the Will.
There are occasions where but for the special relationship between the deceased and another person the deceased may well have made gifts which one might expect him or her to have made. The validity of the Will may be called into question because the gift made to a particular person arise only from the special relationship.
In these cases, you will need to seek advice about whether the Will is valid – what were the circumstances in which the Will was created, who gave the instructions, have other Wills been made beforehand which were vastly different to the final Will, are there any circumstances or relationships which give rise to a concern about the preparation of the Will.
These matters can be the subject of what is known as a “Probate Action” where the Applicant applies to the Supreme Court for orders declaring the Will to be invalid and/or other orders.
You might be defending such a claim. There may be very reasonable defences against such a claim. There may be no reason to interfere with the validity of the Will.
As such, whether bringing a claim to contest the validity of a Will or defend such a claim we suggest that you consult with one of our solicitors for advice.
It is essential that when dealing with a contest to the validity of a Will that action is taken as soon as possible. The Application should be made before an Application for Probate is submitted to the Supreme Court and you may need to take action to Caveat a Probate Application.
To arrange a confidential appointment about contesting the validity of a Will or defending such a claim please contact us today.
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Our team of experienced estate planning lawyers can help with all matters relating to estate planning and administration including wills, probate and estates, inheritance claims, succession planning, intestacy, and challenging a will, please contact us today.
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