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1 in 4 say they would consider Contesting a Will

View profile for Laura Pracy
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More people are going to court to challenge Wills because they feel they have been unfairly left out.

Nationally, research shows that one in four people would go to court to contest a Will. While we are not necessarily seeing those numbers, there has definitely been an increase.

One of the main factors is that there is now much more awareness of the legal options open to people, whereas in the past if someone had been written out of a Will, they may have just have accepted it.

Undue influence is one of the main reasons people have for contesting a Will, but it is very difficult to prove. You would need to provide strong evidence that the person making the Will had been persuaded to make bequests to certain people and not to others.

Claims of undue influence often arise when one child is unhappy with what they have been left compared to a sibling and feel that their sibling has acted inappropriately by influencing the parent to change their Will in their favour.

In cases where a Will is challenged due to the testator’s capacity, there is often medical evidence to support a claim, and these are easier to prove.

We are also finding an increase in cases when problems arise due to blended families. For example, in the situation where a mother or father who has divorced or separated from the Childs original mother or father dies first leaving everything to their now spouse/partner, they may not have fully understood the true effect of disposing of their assets in this way. If their partner (the child’s step-parent) later amends their own Will or does not make a Will, this could result in the step-children receiving nothing from their own parent's estate.

Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependents) Act 1975

In certain situations, a claim may be made under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependents) Act 1975 for reasonable financial provision from the estate where there has been no reasonable provision for them in the Will or where the estate is to be distributed under the Intestacy Rules. These claims often arise from an estrangement or after a major falling out and the success depends on the applicant’s financial circumstances.

Should you feel that you have been unfairly left out of a Will you should seek immediate legal advice and call Laura on 0161 785 7291 for a Free Confidential Initial Consultation

Please note that the information and opinions contained in this article are not intended to be comprehensive, nor to provide legal advice. No responsibility for its accuracy or correctness is assumed by Pearson Solicitors and Financial Advisers LLP or any of its members or employees. Professional legal advice should be obtained before taking, or refraining from taking, any action as a result of this article.