Unfortunately, it is not uncommon for someone to disagree with the provisions of a Will. This can lead to an inheritance dispute in the courts, a lengthy Estate Administration process or assets not being distributed as the deceased had wished.
Even if a Will is correctly drafted and executed, with the full understanding and knowledge of the person who wrote it, it may be possible to bring a claim under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependents) Act 1975. This allows certain people to make claims against the estate if they can prove that:
- They were financially dependent on the deceased
- The deceased did not provide for them adequately in the Will
To read more about this, visit our Inheritance Disputes page (opens in a new window).
There is no guaranteed way to avoid a dispute, but to minimise the risk it is advisable to have a detailed Will written, signed and witnessed when you are of sound mind and update it, if needed, to ensure the distribution of assets is as you planned.
There may also be situations where the beneficiaries mutually agree to vary the provisions in a Will, usually to reduce a tax liability. The beneficiaries that are adversely affected by any changes must agree and then a Deed of Variation can be executed, following which the tax liability is recalculated accordingly. This must happen within two years of the date of death.
Finally, there may also be situations where redistribution of the estate is mutually agreed as the needs of the beneficiaries have changed since the Will was made.