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Contesting A Will Solicitors
Contesting A Will Solicitors
Contesting A Will Solicitors

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Contesting A Will Help & Advice

Call us now on 0333 414 9191
or Click Here to contact us.

Call our Specialists FREE on 0333 414 9191
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Do You Want to Contest a Will?

The death of a family member can be stressful enough, but if you are in the difficult position where you feel you need to contest a Will, it can seem extremely daunting to face this complex and sensitive issue by yourself. However, you do not have to confront this alone. At Tollers, we have many years of experience and are experts in dealing with this niche area of the law. It is a good idea to first understand what the process of contesting a Will entails, what it means for you, the possible outcomes and how Tollers can help you tackle this issue.

 

When a person seeks to contest a Will, they are saying that the Will is invalid for some reason or another. The grounds for challenging a Will are limited. One of the most common grounds is that the testator did not possess the requisite testamentary capacity, required by case law to give instructions for making a new Will.

 

If you are considering contesting a Will, our team of experts at Tollers are formally recognised as specialists in this area.  We have all the tools and a wealth of knowledge at our disposal to guide you through what can be a challenging process. Our team are members of the Association of Contentious Trust and Probate Specialists, which means that they are officially recognised as specialists in this area of the law. 


How To Contest A WillPlease contact us for completely free advice on 0333 414 9191 or email yourdispute@tollers.co.uk.

Call our Specialists FREE on 0333 414 9191
or Click Here to contact us.

Points to consider before bringing a Will Contest

If you believe that you want to contest a Will, the following ought to be considered:

Determine if you have legal standing to contest a Will

Not everyone can contest a Will. In order to have legal standing to bring a claim, you need to consider whether you are beneficiary of a greater share under the Deceased’s directly previous Will (if there is one), then that which you currently receive under the disputed Will. Or where there is no previous Will, a beneficiary under the laws of intestacy. Lawyers at Tollers will assist you in evaluating the merits of your case and also if you have the requisite legal standing to contest the Will.

The time limits to challenge a Will

Even if you have legal standing to contest a Will, it is still important that such a claim is made within the strict time limits applicable to such cases.

  • If the testator died leaving a Will, you have 12 years from the date of death, to bring a claim against the Estate.
  • If the testator died without having made a Will, you have 12 years from the date that the Letters of Administration are granted, to bring a claim against the Estate.
  • If there is an allegation of fraud in respect of the drafting or execution of the Will then there is no time limit in such cases.

Inheritance Act claims are entirely separate to challenging the validity of a Will and the different time limits for bringing such claims are often confused. An Inheritance Act claim is a claim under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975, for maintenance from a Deceased’s Estate; you are not saying that the Will is invalid for any reason. In such claims, you only have 6 months from the date which the Grant of Probate/Letters of Administration are issued, to bring such a claim. If 6 months have passed, you will require the permission of the Court before bringing such a claim.

Determine if you have evidence to support one of the grounds to contest a Will

The grounds for challenging the validity of a Will are limited and are as follows:

  • The Will has not been correctly executed
  • The Deceased cannot be said to have known and approved the contents of the Will
  • The Deceased lacked the requisite testamentary capacity to give instructions for a new Will
  • Fraud is alleged to have taken place at the Will execution
  • The Deceased was unduly influenced into making the new Will

Proving any of these grounds can be complicated. It is therefore advisable that you enlist the help of a specialist probate lawyer at Tollers to collate enough evidence to support your case of Will dispute.


How To Contest A WillPlease contact us for completely free advice on 0333 414 9191 or email yourdispute@tollers.co.uk.

Call our Specialists FREE on 0333 414 9191
or Click Here to contact us.

The Will Was Not Correctly Executed

For a Will to be valid, it must be signed by the deceased in the presence of two witnesses, who must also sign the document. It is generally the case that all parties should be present in the same room, at the same time, to ensure that two witnesses were in attendance when the deceased signed the Will, however there can be variations

Fraud Has Taken Place

An example of fraud could be that the signature on the Will document has been forged and does not belong to the deceased. 


How To Contest A WillPlease contact us for completely free advice on 0333 414 9191 or email yourdispute@tollers.co.uk.

Call our Specialists FREE on 0333 414 9191
or Click Here to contact us.

The Deceased Lacked Knowledge and Approval

To make a Will you must be aged 18 or over, in order to be classed as an adult. Minors are deemed to not have the required capacity to create a Will.

The person creating the Will must be aware that they are making a Will to dispose of their estate upon death, and must be able to understand and approve the contents of the Will containing their wishes and instructions.

In successful cases where lack of knowledge and approval had been claimed, it could be presumed in certain circumstances, which excite the suspicion of the Court, that the testator could not be said to have known and approved the Will contents. Examples of such suspicious circumstances could include one or more of the following:

  • A beneficiary under the Will was influential in creating and/or drafting the same
  • A major beneficiary was present when the instructions for the Will were taken or when it was signed and witnessed
  • The Will changed dramatically before death
  • The Will was homemade and not professionally prepared
  • The document that has been signed by the deceased was not the document they believed they were signing, so for example the deceased signed the Will under the impression that they were signing something else.

Lack Of Testamentary Capacity

The test for testamentary capacity is that set out in the case of Banks v Goodfellows. The test for the purposes of making a Will, is that the Deceased must have understood at the time of giving instructions for their new Will, the nature of the act, the claims they ought to consider and the extent of the property they had to dispose of. In addition, they must not have been subject to any disorder of the mind that should poison their affections, pervert their sense of right, or prevent the exercise of their natural faculties. In other words, they must not have been suffering from any insane delusion.

If the Deceased can be proven not to have satisfied the required criteria then it may be possible to contest a Will on the grounds of lack of testamentary capacity.

The Deceased Was Unduly Influenced

This is when it is claimed that the testator was physically or mentally influenced into making the Will, which they would not otherwise have made of their own free will. When claiming that the deceased was unduly influenced, it is up to the person brining the claims to prove that undue influence has occurred; mere persuasion is not enough. This can be very tough to prove because this form of manipulation often takes place only behind closed doors. Tollers have many years of experience in dealing with these complex cases.


How To Contest A WillPlease contact us for completely free advice on 0333 414 9191 or email yourdispute@tollers.co.uk.

Call our Specialists FREE on 0333 414 9191
or Click Here to contact us.

How will I Afford To Contest a Will?

Funding can be an issue which deters many people from seeking legal advice. Tollers offer a variety of funding options for our clients who want to contest a Will. We will consider funding by way of a ‘No Win No Fee’ agreement, with each matter to be decided on a case by case basis dependent upon the merits of the claim.

For an alternative method of funding, Tollers always advise our clients to check their existing home buildings/contents insurance policies, to see whether they have any Legal Expenses Insurance, which might provide funding to pursue such claims. Check your terms and conditions policy booklet and if you are in doubt, contact your insurer directly.

Tollers will always give you a realistic estimate of the costs involved in any matter prior to undertaking work.


How To Contest A WillPlease contact us for completely free advice on 0333 414 9191 or email yourdispute@tollers.co.uk.

Call our Specialists FREE on 0333 414 9191
or Click Here to contact us.

What Happens If There Is No Will?

If a person has died without leaving a valid Will then their estate will be administered in accordance with the intestacy rules set down by statute. In such circumstances there is no Will to contest. However, there may be other claims to consider against the Estate in those circumstances, such as an Inheritance Act claim.

Inheritance Act Claims

The Inheritance (Provision for Family & Dependants) Act 1975 allows certain people to bring a claim for maintenance against the Deceased’s estate, where they have not been adequately provided for in the original Will. People falling under one of the following categories may be eligible to make a claim:

  • The wife, husband or civil partner of the deceased person.
  • The ex-wife, husband or civil partner of the deceased person who are yet to remarry or form another civil relationship.
  • Co-habitees i.e. someone who lived with the now deceased person for a minimum period of two years before their death.
  • A child of the recently deceased person.
  • A person who was treated as a child of the recently deceased person.
  • Someone who was being financially supported by the recently deceased person.

One of the principal requirements of the 1975 Act is for the person bringing the claim to prove that the Deceased has failed to make adequate financial provision for them.

Tollers can guide you through all the legal aspects of a 1975 Act dispute, irrespective of whether there was a Will or not left by the Deceased. Our lawyers are specialists in this niche area of the law and will be by your side the entire time when you bringing such a claim. Our lawyers are specialists with years of experience in these types of cases.

The Tollers legal team are members of the Association of Contentious Trust and Probate Specialists (ACTAPS), meaning they are officially recognised as specialists in this niche area of the law, a rarity in the region.


How To Contest A WillPlease contact us for completely free advice on 0333 414 9191 or email yourdispute@tollers.co.uk.

Call our Specialists FREE on 0333 414 9191
or Click Here to contact us.

How Tollers Can Help You Contest a Will

We appreciate that contesting the Will of a loved one is a difficult decision to make, and it is not a decision to make hastily. However, if you are wondering if you have grounds to bring a successful claim, it is strongly advised that you seek professional legal advice as quickly as possible.

At Tollers, we don’t just offer you our specialist legal expertise to contest a Will; we understand that legal matters concerning family and other types of personal relationships can be complex and sensitive. We focus on achieving favourable outcomes for our clients while offering them empathy and support during what can be a very difficult and fraught process.

Our legal advisors and lawyers will listen closely to what you have to say, truly understanding your circumstances, both personal and legal. We will take the time to explain points of law clearly and simply without waffle, jargon or legalese. 

Tollers & ACTAPS

The Association of Contentious Trust & Probate Specialists was first established back in 1997 for law specialists involved in contentious trust and probate work.

The idea of The Association of Contentious Trust and Probate Specialists is to provide an open forum for specialists to share knowledge and to stay up to date with this specialist legal area. It’s important to promote the specific skill set around this sector through education and training, to enable representations to be made to the specific governmental and judicial bodies in relation to trust and probate issues.

ACTAPS Approved Members of the Toller’s Staff:

Tom Kings: Tom qualified as a solicitor in the mid-1980s and has gained significant experience in many different forms of business and private litigation, representing a number of substantial commercial and private clients.

Tom is a member of the Northamptonshire Law Society Council and formally Chair of the Contentious subcommittee. For the last decade he has specialised in Trust and Probate claims having completed the ACTAPS course. He has worked on a wide variety of challenged estate and inheritance claims. Tom has presented numerous seminars on the subject of challenging or contesting a Will.

Tom works as the head of an experienced team who are able to offer a range of different advice when a client decides to contest a Will.

Tiffany Wiggett: Tiffany qualified at Tollers in 2010 and currently works as an Associate Solicitor in the contesting a Will team.

Tiffany specialises in contesting a Will and the financial abuse of the elderly and vulnerable.

In October 2015 Toller’s were proud to announce that Tiffany became a fully-fledged member of The Association of Contentious Trust and Probate Specialists, which means that she is officially recognised as a specialist in this niche arena. Tiffany advises upon all manner of disputes that arise after someone passes away and these include:

  • Challenges to Wills,
  • Inheritance Act claims,
  • Proprietary Estoppel claims,
  • Executor/beneficiary disputes,
  • Challenges to lifetime gifts,
  • Construction/Rectification of a Will,
  • Professional negligence,
  • Financial abuse of the elderly/vulnerable.


How To Contest A WillPlease contact us for completely free advice on 0333 414 9191 or email yourdispute@tollers.co.uk.

Call our Specialists FREE on 0333 414 9191
or Click Here to contact us.

About Tollers

Tollers were founded in 1877, and have grown to become a leading regional law firm. We have offices in Northampton, Milton Keynes, Kettering, Corby, Stevenage, Kempston, Oakham and Uppingham.

While we may have a long history, our eight offices and over 163 Partners and staff take a very modern approach to providing a high-quality legal service when our clients want to contest a Will.

We continually invest in our people, processes and technology to ensure the service our customers receive is both first-class and cost-effective. We are about acting professionally, adapting the way we do things to best serve your needs, and building a relationship based on trust, mutual respect, and professionalism. 


How To Contest A WillPlease contact us for completely free advice on 0333 414 9191 or email yourdispute@tollers.co.uk.

Tiffany qualified at Tollers in September 2010 and is currently an Senior Associate Solicitor in the contesting a Will team. Tiffany specialises in contesting a Will and financial abuse of the elderly/vulnerable. As of October 2015 Tiffany became a Full Member of The Association of Contentious Trust... Read More

Tiffany Wiggett / Senior Associate Solicitor - Contesting a Will
t   01604 258577

Related Service Area: Dispute ResolutionAreas of Specialism: Contentious Probate – challenging Wills, inheritance claims and claims by and upon an Estate.Office based at: CorbyTom qualified with Tollers in 1984 and joined the partnership in 1987.  He is a Senior Partner and Head of Dispute... Read More

Tom Kings / Senior Partner
t   01604 258127
m   07785 542593

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