Dealing with matters of probate and handling a deceased person’s estate can be emotionally fraught. What can make matters worse is the emergence of inheritance disputes between family members and interested parties. Probate and will disputes of any kind can be a lengthy process and can extend the grieving period even further. If you find yourself embroiled in such a dispute, it’s important that you seek out the most appropriate legal advice. Here at Van Eaton solicitors, we have experience in dealing with inheritance disputes in London and the surrounding areas.
If you wish to contest a will and its contents, there are certain criteria that you must follow for your claim to have a chance in succeeding. Our litigation solicitors here at Van Eaton can implement effective dispute resolution to avoid taking your claim to court, as well as assessing your claim to implement the best course of action. Our vast experience in dealing with family law and estate disputes means we can present you with the result you require as efficiently as possible.
If you would like to discover whether you can contest a will, read our article below.
According to the 1975 Act
If you’re wanting to fully engage with what goes into contesting a will, the Provision for Family and Dependants Act 1975 contains everything you need to know. It lays out exactly who can apply to contest a will, as well as the grounds that you must state to make a claim. It explains that, to make a claim, you must be one of the following to the deceased:
- the spouse or civil partner
Child, stepchild, or was treated like a child by the deceased
Anyone financially dependent on the deceased before their death
Living in the same house of the deceased two years prior to their death
The Act applies to any of the individuals listed above, as there is reason as to why they would be interested in the contents of a will. You can contest a deceased person’s will if you were omitted entirely, or you were not happy with what you were left with. Like all legal disputes, law firms have processes in place to perform civil litigation in different ways; the most favourable being dispute resolution outside of court.
Our disputes lawyers here at Van Eaton solicitors in Streatham, with reference to their own knowledge as well as the 1975 Act, can draft up your claim and expertly advise on the best course of action. With years of experience dealing with inheritance disputes in London and the surrounding areas, we can advise on how successful your claim could be and will work tirelessly to achieve the best outcome for you. You can read our previous article on how to effectively contest a will here.
They Must Have Reasonable Grounds
Although you may be classed as an individual who has the right to make a claim, you must have a reasonable excuse for doing so. There are many different reasons why someone would want to contest the contents of a deceased person’s will, such as questions of validity, doubting the deceased’s mental capacity of the time the will was made, and the belief that they may have been coerced. Not being happy with what you were given from a will might not be a good enough reason to contest, and therefore must be backed up with a valid reason.
One of the most common reasons why someone would make a claim is the belief that the deceased lacked the mental capacity to make a true will. If you make this claim, the burden of proof falls upon you to back up your claim. For a will to be valid, the deceased must have completely understood what they were doing and must have no mental illness that could ‘pervert their sense of right.’ Another reason may be the belief that the deceased was under ‘undue influence’ and they were forced or coerced into making their will. You can read our full article on reasonable grounds here.
“Reasonable Financial Provision”
If you have been left in financial detriment due to a lack of funds provided in the will, and you have rights to claim under the 1975 Act, you may be able to contest the will. You can make a claim under the Inheritance Act 1975 and claim financial provisions from an estate. You must prove that the provisions left to you from the will are not sufficient to meet your financial needs. The courts will then decide whether the will or intestacy provisions make reasonable financial provision for the applicant.
The courts will consider many cogent criteria to determine whether to grant the applicant with financial provisions, which can be found here. At Van Eaton solicitors, our vast experience dealing with inheritance disputes in London can help play a vital role in your claim and can assist you in getting the result you desire. We understand how much of an emotional toll case like these can inflict upon a person, so we will always handle cases with the utmost empathy and care.