There is no doubt that losing a loved one is a challenging time. However, it can be made worse if the Will that has been left behind is causing problems. If you have an issue with the Will then, in certain circumstances and for limited reasons, you can challenge it and ask that it is deemed invalid.
Who Can Challenge a Will?
Anyone who is a beneficiary or was going to benefit from the Will can challenge it. This will include:
• A relative or spouse who is blood-related
• An individual who was financially reliant on the deceased
• Someone named in a previous Will
• Someone who is owed a debt by the deceased
• An individual who was promised to be left something in the Will but it was not added to the Will
What Are The Reasons for Challenging a Will
Not Sound of Mind The person making the will might not have been sound of mind when writing the Will
Problems with Approval
The individual who makes the Will might not have been aware of the contents and did not approve the details and contents before signing it
The individual was influenced by a third party or under duress when making the Will
It is possible that the Will might have been forged by someone other than the deceased or they might have forced the testator into making them change their Will
The Will might have been badly prepared and might have included a significant error, which meant that it did not carry out the wishes of the deceased
The Will is not valid
The Will might not meet the requirements of the Wills Act 1837, rendering it invalid
Challenging a Will - How Long Does it Take?
It can prove to be a lengthy and complex process to challenge a Will and it can take anything from a few months to several years. However, the time is dependent on the circumstances around it. Mediation is a good way of attempting to resolve any issues as this can reduce the time and cost of challenging a Will in court.
Is it Possible to Challenge a Will After Probate Has Been Granted?
It can be slightly more difficult to challenge a Will after probate has been granted. This is particularly true if assets have already been distributed to beneficiaries. The process of obtaining the Grant means that the Will has already been ‘proven’ as valid by the Court.
If you can obtain any evidence as early as possible, then you could prevent a Grant of Probate from being issued. However, all of this is complex and that means that you should always aim to seek professional, legal advice where necessary.