Everyone is free to draw up a Will on whatever terms they choose. By the same token, there’s nothing to prevent anyone from challenging a Will once death has occurred.
In fact it’s happening more and more, particularly given the prevalence and complexity of extended families.
Challenges can be made in a number of circumstances including:
Claims under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependents) Act 1975 - this enables certain people to apply to the court for provision to be made for them from the estate. This might include the spouse or civil partner of the deceased, a former spouse or civil partner, cohabitees living together for two years or more, and the child of the deceased, amongst others.
Claims as to the validity of the Will on the basis that the person who drew it either did not have the required testamentary capacity to draw a Will, or was unduly influenced or coerced into making it, or if there is evidence of fraud or forgery, or that the Will was revoked.
Even if you feel you cannot challenge a Will, you may be able to make a claim on a particular asset that you believe was promised to you but has been given to someone else.
If, as a beneficiary or an executor, you have any such concerns, we can assist.
We can also advise beneficiaries who may be concerned that an executor or trustee has behaved improperly. Such disputes can arise where:
- there is a concern that trustees aren’t taking proper investment advice
- beneficiaries feel that they are not given any information in relation to a trust in which they have an interest
- the trustee may have a personal interest
- executor or trustee is dishonest or unreasonable
- the beneficiaries want to remove a trustee as a result of their actions
Our experienced team is well placed to advise in relation to these issues.
For more information on probate disputes and to start a conversation on how we can help you please contact Ellen Lambert, Partner, Private Client.