How To Contest A Will
How To Contest A Will
It is a fundamental principal that Testators are meant to have complete testamentary freedom to leave their property, money and assets to whomever they choose. However, there are circumstances in which a Court may interfere with this testamentary freedom, namely an Inheritance Act claim and challenging the validity of the Will in question.
Before considering whether to make a claim or challenge a Will there are matters which should be considered.
How To Contest A Will – Time limits
There are time limits for claims upon or against an Estate. The following time limits ought to be borne in mind:
- If the Testator died having made a Will you have 12 years from the date of his death to bring a claim against the Estate, including disputing the validity of the last Will.
- 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.
- If the Testator has been guilty of some fraud there are no time limits in which a claim can be brought on the Estate.
- Inheritance Act claims (which does not involve the challenge of the Will itself) have different time limits and are often confused with Will challenges.
- An Inheritance Act claim is one which is brought under the Inheritance (Family and Dependants) Act 1975 for maintenance from the Deceased’s Estate. In these cases, you have 6 months from the date when the Grant of Probate/Letters of Administration are issued to bring such a claim. If 6 months have passed you may only be able to pursue a claim out of time if you obtain the permission of the Court to do so. Such circumstances are limited and require specialist advice.
Standing to bring a claim or contest a Will
Challenging a Will or bringing any claim upon an Estate, the person bringing such a claim must have an interest in a successful outcome. In the case of a challenge to a Will, you must be a person whom materially benefits from the last valid preceding Will, or, if there is no such Will, you must be entitled to the Estate or at least a share of the Estate. In such an instance, entitlement is governed by the Rules of Intestacy.
Talk to Tollers
If you are researching how to contest a Will, you either have concerns about the validity of the Will or feel that you may have an Inheritance Act Claim. In either case, you should consider seeking professional legal advice. Talk to Tollers, our team are highly experienced and empathetic, simply complete the form below and a member of our team will call you back.