When a loved one passes away their estate is distributed based on the instructions in their will or by the rules of intestacy if no Will exists. In some cases, family members and other beneficiaries may feel the terms of the Will do not accurately reflect their deceased relative’s final wishes or have a cause for concern about how their Will was written. This is when it becomes important to seek specialist advice from contentious probate solicitors.
Can I Contest a Will?
The answer to this depends on a number of factors including whether you have standing to challenge the Will, and if the Will is being challenged on grounds that it lacks testamentary capacity. Generally speaking, for a person to have testamentary capacity to make a will they must be of sound mind and understand the nature and effect of their actions.
The Role of a Contentious Probate Solicitor: Protecting Your Inheritance Rights
If a claim is made on the basis of lack of testamentary capacity, it will usually be necessary to obtain a medical report to establish that the testator had the required mental capability to make their Will at the time of its execution. This can take time and is an expensive stage of the process.
If the claim is not contested at this stage, the parties should consider alternative dispute resolution such as mediation or without-prejudice discussions. If this does not resolve the matter, the claim will continue to court and a judge will hear evidence and make a decision. In many instances, inheritance disputes are settled by agreement between the parties outside of court.