Am I eligible for contesting a will?
In order to bring a case, the law requires that you have ‘sufficient grounds’ for contesting a Will. Common scenarios that would meet this requirement include:
- The financial dependency upon the deceased of a beneficiary is unrecognised
- You suspect the Will to be legally invalid
- The Will is missing or has been destroyed
- You suspect fraudulent activity during the writing of the Will
- The deceased died Intestate (i.e. without making a Will)
- You were promised an inheritance but have received nothing or insufficient
- You suspect the mental capacity of the deceased at the time the Will was made
- There are ‘moral issues’ to be considered
- Suspected serial beneficiaries are suspected to were named as beneficiaries in the Will
- 3rd party beneficiaries (e.g. charities) were named as beneficiaries in the Will
If you are able to answer ‘Yes’ to any of the following questions then you are likely to be eligible for Contesting a Will:
- Are you named as a beneficiary in the Will but you have not received your entitlement?
- Have you been named in any Will completed by the deceased, even if it was not the last Will they completed?
- Were you promised by the deceased that you would be a beneficiary in the Will but you were not?
- Did the deceased give you money during their lifetime?
- Did the deceased buy you presents during their lifetime?
- Did the deceased pay for your lifestyle or upkeep (in part or in full) at some time during their lifetime?
- Didn’t the deceased leave a Will and are you are a blood relative of theirs?
- Are you a relative, spouse, former spouse, civil partner or former civil partner of the deceased?
- Before their death, were you a dependant of (or somebody treated as such), a cohabitee of, or in receipt of maintenance from the deceased?
- Before their death, did the deceased reside in either England or Wales?
- Has less than 6 months passed since the ‘Grant of Probate’?
- Does the deceased’s estate have a value exceeding £50,000?
- Do you have ‘sufficient grounds’ for contesting the Will (see above examples)?
As addressed above, in order to bring a claim to contest a Will, you must be a person associated with the deceased in order to become a beneficiary or a greater beneficiary of the deceased’s estate. You therefore must be either:
- The ‘next of kin’ or sole living relative of the deceased
- A child of the deceased or a person who was treated as a ‘child of the family’ by the deceased
- The most recent spouse or civil partner of the deceased
- A former spouse or civil partner of the deceased who was in receipt of maintenance and has neither remarried nor entered into a new civil partnership
- A financial dependent of the deceased
- A cohabitee of the deceased for at least 2 years
- In receipt of maintenance (i.e. partly or wholly maintained by the deceased immediately before their death)
- A friend or acquaintance of the deceased
- A blood relative of the deceased
It is important to note that, while it is only possible to contest a Will if the deceased was a resident of England, Scotland or Wales and the Will is subject to the laws of England and Wales or Scotland, it does not matter where you reside. We have handled claims for many clients located around the world – Particularly in Australia, New Zealand, Canada and Spain.