Experiencing the loss of a loved one can take you on a rollercoaster ride of emotions and will often leave you feeling both lost and deeply saddened. Going through the grieving process is never easy and dealing with the aftermath of death can also be a strain. Among emotions of grief, you may also find yourself feeling angry and confused when it comes to learning about the will of your family member or friend. If you feel you have been unfairly treated within the will, then you may have the grounds to contest it.
Who can contest a will?
Not everyone can contest a will, but if you feel you have been unfairly disinherited and you suspect foul play then you are legally allowed to contest the will. If the testator wasn’t of a rational mind, and the will includes recent edits or there has been a change of executor or new beneficiaries, these are also grounds to legally contest the will. If you feel you’ve been cut out unfairly, then it might be worth challenging the will, but it’s important to bear in mind that this is a lengthy and expensive process.
How do you contest a will?
In an ideal scenario, it’s best to challenge the will before probate is granted. You will need to seek specialist legal advice and file what is called a ‘caveat’ to the Probate Registry. This will halt a probate being taken out in the meantime. The best route to take would be mediation or negotiation with the beneficiaries but, if they do not agree with your claims, it is likely your case will be taken to court. This will mean that both sides of the argument will need to present their information and this is where it can get both messy and expensive.
Can a will be contested after probate?
Whilst it is in your interests to contest a will pre-probate, your challenge can still be granted after. This just means that the executor of the will may have spent or disposed of any assets in the meantime.
How much does it cost to contest a will?
In the case that all parties agree with the challenge, then the cost is fairly minimal but if the contest goes to court then it’s impossible to put a price on it. While some cases may take a matter of weeks to resolve, some can take years. Just imagine the solicitor’s fees! Legal aid and public funding are not available for those wishing to contest a will, but you might be able to use any cover you may have from an existing home insurance policy.
Can I contest on a will on someone else’s behalf?
Yes, you can. If you are a parent contesting a will for your child or the person in question does not have full mental capacity then you may contest on their behalf. Generally, if you are challenging a will on behalf of your dependants then it is a quicker and simpler process than contesting a will on behalf of an adult who is not financially dependent on the individual who has passed.
What are the chances of winning a contest?
Every challenge is unique and therefore it’s hard to predict what may happen as a result of contesting a will.