The death of a loved one is a difficult time for any family or friend to deal with. In this article, we deal with how to contest a Will in the UK.
When it comes to Wills and probate, issues can become intense and emotional. Particularly concerning beneficiaries and the distribution of assets.
If you’re dealing with a will in which you believe you should be entitled to certain assets, then you might be able to bring a claim and contest a Will.
So, What Grounds Are There To Contest A Will?
There are several different reasons why you might contest a Will. It’s prudent to seek legal advice if you’re considering doing so. A a legal professional will be able to advise you as to whether you have a legitimate case to bring a claim.
If probate has been issued already, then you can still make a claim. BUT it might be more difficult to do so. Particularly if the executors of the Will have started to distribute the estate.
The first step is to ascertain whether the Will is valid and whether it has been completed correctly…
Any Will in the UK MUST comply with the Wills Act 1837. With the very first legal requirement being that the Will-maker must be at least 18 years old when signing their will.
The Other Requirements For A Valid Will Are:
- It must be in writing and signed by the person making it
- Two people must witness the signature of the Will-maker
- The witness must also sign after seeing them sign the Will, or acknowledge it is their signature on the document
- The person whose Will it is must have signed it intending to make a valid Will
If for whatever reason the Will doesn’t adhere to any of the above requirements, you have a valid reason to contest it.
All in all, if there’s a suspicion of fraud, undue influence, a lack of knowledge and approval, a lack of testamentary capacity, or a lack of due execution, you have grounds to contest a Will.
A Will is presumed as being duly executed if it is on the face of it. Which means that if you’re attempting to contest a Will on these grounds, you’ll need strong evidence to convince the court of your position.
If you believe that a Will isn’t valid, you must act quickly and seek legal advice as soon as possible. It might be worth entering a caveat with the Probate Registry. This will prevent a Grant of Probate from being taken out and assets from being distributed.
How Much Does It Cost To Contest A Will In The UK?
Okay, so that’s not the answer you’re looking for…
But there are a lot of factors to consider.
If assets have already been distributed, the situation becomes much more difficult to resolve. While if you’re attempting to gather evidence that a Will hasn’t been duly executed, the timescale involved could be prolonged.
If the opponent accepts that a Will is invalid quickly, your legal costs are likely to be somewhere between £500 and £1500.
However, if the dispute isn’t settled after an initial letter, the next stage is likely to be some form of mediation. And the cost of progressing to this stage can be anything from £7,500 to £10,000.
If the case isn’t settled after this and proceeds to court, then the costs are likely to rise to as much as £20,000. If it proceeds to trial, the total cost could be more than £100,000.
It’s worth noting that around half of all cases are settled before proceedings are issued. Just 2% of cases ever reach the final trial stage.
This is why any issues must be identified early to ensure that they’re resolved early through mediation or similar discussions.
That’s why the advice of a qualified legal professional is vital from the outset. Particularly due to the complexity of inheritance claims.
Get Connected With A Contested Will Specialist Now!
Click here to see how much it costs to contest a Will.