If you’ve recently lost a loved one and found that the will they left behind fell short of expectations, or seemed ‘off’ in some way, then chances are you’re feeling a combination of grief, confusion, frustration, and maybe even fear for the future.
Wills are there to protect us. They’re there so that we can rest assured that, when we die, our loved ones will be taken care of – and to ensure that, when we lose a loved one (someone we may even have depended on for financial security), we aren’t cast adrift.
So, when the will represents something of a curveball, it can be a real blow. Most of us know that contesting a will is possible, but also that it can be a long and complicated experience. So, is it worth your while?
Do you believe you got significantly less than you deserve?
If a single possession or a nominal sum of money is bequeathed to someone else, then going through the process of contesting a will – investing your own time and money, and potentially harming relationships with your loved ones – may not be worth it.
But, if the difference between expectation and reality is significant, then working with contesting a will solicitors could be your only option. Sometimes, family members can work out their own compromises. Other times, this just isn’t possible.
Do you believe the will did not reflect the testator’s true wishes?
There are times when forgery, fraud, undue influence, or a lack of testamentary capacity mean that the will not only falls short of your own expectations, but the testator’s too. In times like these, contesting a will is the only way to bring justice to your late loved one – and, if it can be proven, could have a drastic impact on the distribution of their estate.
Do you believe promises or obligations made to you were not upheld?
If the testator was in some way financially responsible for you – even if you’re not a blood relative – then there may be grounds for contesting the will, and ensuring you’re not left with nothing at all. Similarly, if the testator had a debt to you that was not reflected in the will, taking legal action against the will may mean the debt can finally be repaid.
You’ll need a compelling legal reason
Whatever your reason for wanting to contest a will, it’s imperative that you have a strong, legal reason for contesting it. Simply wanting a little more than you got isn’t enough.
Whether it’s lack of testamentary capacity, undue influence, or forgery – or something else that you need to talk through with your solicitor, you can’t act without cause.
Of course, proving your case can be tricky – and that’s why contesting a will can be a long and tricky process. At times, however, it’s the only way to put the matter to rest, and allow you to work through your grief without the mixed emotions that a poorly written will can dredge up.