Many individuals and couples put off having their wills drafted due to what they may consider complex family situations such as excluding a family member or members from benefiting from their estate. In some cases, the solution may not be as complicated as one may assume.
Who can challenge a will?
Theoretically, anyone can challenge your will. Although each case will be judged on its individual merits, it is generally accepted that the most likely challenges are to come from family members of the deceased.
Grounds for a challenge
Below are just some of the grounds that could be used by a claimant to challenge a will:
- The deceased didn’t have sufficient mental capacity to instruct on a will
- The testator was unduly influenced in the instruction of their will
- The deceased didn’t have the requisite understanding of the will and its ramifications
- The will has been forged by someone else
- There has been a clerical error in the drafting of the will
- A natural beneficiary of the deceased persons estate hasn’t been accounted for mistakenly
Who has the most chance of a successful challenge?
Under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975 there are certain groups of people who have more of a chance of successfully challenging a will. Some of these are:
- A spouse or civil partner of the deceased
- A former spouse or civil partner of the deceased assuming the individual hasn’t entered a subsequent marriage or civil partnership
- A biological or adopted child of the deceased
- A person who was living with the deceased for over 2 years at the time of death
- Someone who could claim to be financially dependent upon the decease
Above are some of the groups of people who could claim under this particular act.
Could my will be successfully challenged?
Every case is judged on its individual merits so there is no simple answer to this particular question. Previous cases are likely to be referenced by lawyers as in any type of case so precedents can be looked upon to ascertain certain aspects.
It is ALWAYS recommended to speak to experts of the ilk of RRK Legal to get legal advice on your individual circumstances.
How can I protect against my assets being given to someone I want to exclude?
There are ways in which you can put certain protections in place to stop an excluded party gaining your assets after you have passed. It’s very to have a ‘one size fits all’ answer in these circumstances so always seek expert advice.
If you have any questions around your circumstances get in touch with RRK Legal today to ensure you get the relevant expert legal advice. Remember, RRK Legal deal with a wide variety of cases on a daily basis and have more than likely came across someone in your position many times before!