How To Ensure Your Will Is Not Contested

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The whole purpose of having a valid will is to ensure your loved ones are looked after once you have passed away and also to avoid any possible disputes. That said, in some instances, even if you do have a valid will in place, family members may still choose to contest it if they are not happy with the content.

The grounds for challenging a will by family members are usually if they suspect it wasn’t legally binding or that does not reflect your true wishes.

In theory, anyone can contest a will though it is usually the children, spouse, ex-spouse or cohabitee who do so. Anyone who does opt to contest a will must seek legal advice early on in the process to establish the facts and asses what is likely to happen.

Measures to Consider When Contesting a Will

To ensure your will is legally binding, and not open to be contested, it needs to be in writing and then signed and witnessed by two witnesses who must also sign the will.

It’s worth noting that, should a family member choose to contest a will, then it can often take a very long time to resolve the situation and so is generally of little benefit to anyone if the will has been signed, dated and witnessed. That’s why, someone who is planning to contest a will, should carefully consider the implications of this decision. 

Sadly, disputes over inheritance matters can become very unpleasant and, if a will is challenged, family relationships can breakdown irrevocably, with no satisfactory resolution.

Contesting a will can also cost a lot of time and money as you will need legal advice and support to take the processing of challenging the will forward. In some instances, the legal costs can escalate so much that they could exceed the value of the deceased’s estate.

Reasons Why Someone May Contest a Will

There has to be a valid reason if someone is planning to contest the will of someone who has passed away. These reasons can include:

·        Disputing that the deceased did not have full mental capacity when they made their will –they will need proof of this from a doctor or other medical professional to support such a claim.

·        Believing that the deceased made the will under undue influence from those benefitting from the will. This could apply to people who may be frail or vulnerable or those who suffer from disabilities such as deafness or blindness. 

·        Believing the will is forged can make it invalid. This can also be difficult to prove and they may need the support of a hand-writing expert to compare signatures if possible.

·        Being convinced that a mistake was made when the will was drafted due to clerical error. This challenge would need to be made within six months of the probate being granted. 

If a court agrees that the will is not valid, the estate will then be distributed at the court’s discretion, usually based on the most recent, legal, valid will (though there’s no guarantee the person contesting the document will get anything) .

At Swansea Legal Solutions we offer a comprehensive and robust will writing service to protect your estate and your chosen beneficiaries from the possibility of your will being contested.  We are also offering clients the opportunity to get two wills for the price of one during April and May 2022. To find out more about this service click here .