Challenging or disputing a Will
The death of a close family member or other loved one is understandably an emotional and upsetting time for any person. The situation can be further worsened when a dependant is cut out of a Will, or is left less than expected. At Nelsons, our expert team can help you with your Will or inheritance disputes.
Inheritance disputes – Wills
Under the Inheritance (Provision For Family And Dependants) Act 1975 you are able to claim against a deceased person’s estate if:
- You were financially dependant on the deceased;
- Inadequate financial provision has been made for you by the deceased;
- You claim within the specified time limits; and
- You fall into a specified category of claimant such as a surviving spouse, civil partner, child or cohabitee.
The other common grounds for an inheritance dispute are if you do not accept the validity of a Will, on grounds such as:
- You want to challenge the mental capacity (testamentary capacity) of the deceased when they made the Will;
- You want to challenge the proper execution or interpretation of a Will; and/or
- You believe there was another agreement with the deceased before death relating to the disposal of their estate.
Our inheritance disputes solicitors
At Nelsons, we have substantial experience in all areas of Will and inheritance disputes and can advise on the merits of your claim, as well as how to fund it and the risks associated with claiming.
We specialise in these claims and the team includes members of the Association of Contentious Trust and Probate Specialists (ACTAPS).
Inheritance disputes FAQs
Read our most frequently asked questions about inheritance claims below:
I think I have been left out of a Will. Can I make a claim?
Under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975, the following people can make a claim for ‘reasonable provision’ from a deceased person’s estate:
- A spouse or civil partner of the deceased;
- A former spouse or civil partner, if they have not re-married or made a new civil partnership;
- A child or someone who was treated as a child by the deceased;
- A person who was being financially maintained by the deceased when they died.
On what grounds can I contest a Will?
There are a number of grounds on which a Will can be contested:
- If the Will was not executed properly
- If fraud is suspected
- If the deceased lacked capacity
- If the deceased did not know or approve the contents of the Will
- If the deceased was subjected to undue influence
- If an error was made when the Will was created
More information about contesting the validity of a Will can be found on our ‘How to Contest a Will’ page.
What are the time limits for making a claim?
Applications under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependents) Act 1975 must be made within six months of the Grant of Probate or the Grant of Letters of Administration. Claims can be brought after this time period has expired if there is good reason for the delay, however, it is essential to obtain legal advice as soon as possible as delays could affect a claim’s prospects.
The time limit to contest a Will or challenge its validity is 12 years from the date of death, and in cases of fraud there is no time limit. It is however advisable to start Will validity claims as soon as there are grounds to do so, to prevent the estate being distributed based on the basis set out in the alleged false Will.
How much can I claim from the estate?
If you have a claim, how much you receive will depend on how much the estate is worth, your financial situation and the responsibilities the deceased person had towards you during their lifetime.
The deceased promised to leave me something in their Will but did not do so – can I make a claim?
If the deceased promised to leave you property or money in their Will, you may be able to make a claim if you were disadvantaged by relying upon their promise. This is known as a ‘proprietary estoppel’ claim.
How can I fund my case?
There are many different funding options available, including insurance which you may already have as part of a home insurance policy which could potentially cover your legal fees. Alternatively, Nelsons are willing to consider pursuing claims on a Conditional Fee Agreement or Damages Based Agreement (commonly referred to as ‘no win no fee’ agreements). Should you wish to discuss funding further, please do not hesitate to contact us.
I think I may have a claim – what should I do next?
If you think you have an inheritance claim or grounds to contest a Will, it is important to seek legal advice as soon as possible.
Please call 0800 024 1976 or contact us via our online enquiry form to discuss how our specialist team might be able to act on your behalf in a Will dispute or inheritance dispute.
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