Losing a loved one is difficult and the grievance process can be made worse when disputes over a will arise.
Some of the main disputes are set out below:
1) Inheritance Claims:
If you think you have been unfairly or unjustly left out of the deceased’s will and that you deserve at least some financial provision, you may be able to bring what is known as an Inheritance Claim (under the Inheritance, Provision for Family and Dependants Act 1975. It’s possible that the deceased may have deliberately left you out of the will or perhaps was pressurised into doing so. On the other hand the deceased may simply have forgotten to update the will to take account of changing circumstances.
The following persons are entitled to make an Inheritance Claim:
- A surviving spouse or civil partner
- Former spouses or civil partners
- Cohabitees (if you lived together as man and wife for over two years)
- Children of the person that died
- Persons treated as children of the family
- Persons dependant on the person that died
2) Disputes regarding a will’s validity
Disputes regarding a will’s validity are becoming increasingly common (e.g. whether it has been made properly and in accordance with the deceased’s wishes). If a solicitor drafted the will then it is likely that the will has will has been properly drafted; this is sometimes more of a problem with “homemade” wills or wills drafted by inexperienced will drafters. There are, for example, strict formalities regarding how a will should be signed.
Was the deceased actually capable of making a will? Legitimate concerns can be raised regarding the deceased’s mental capacity. Did s/he understand what s/he was doing when the will was made? Was the deceased otherwise disabled (e.g. blind or deaf)?
Was the deceased pressurised in some way?
Has the will been lost, damaged, destroyed or altered?
3) Disputes between Executors and beneficiaries:
Executors (also known as trustees) are the persons appointed by the deceased in the will to carry it out after the deceased’s death. Sometimes, for various reasons, they fail to do their job properly or quickly enough. Beneficiaries are the persons who will inherit the deceased’s money or assets under the will. Executors are frequently beneficiaries as well.
Our dedicated solicitors can help with disputes and provide you with much needed legal representation.
Contact our Family Law Solicitors
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