Are you facing a dispute over the Will of a loved one?  Do you believe that you have been unfairly left out of a Will?  Perhaps you fear that the Will of a relative has been prepared under duress or when they weren’t mentally competent?  We can help.

Sadly, it’s not always the case that everyone agrees with the intentions of the deceased as expressed in a Will.  These cases can lead to a disputed inheritance on one of several grounds, and potentially to a Will being re-written by the courts.

When can a Will be disputed?

There are a number of reasons that a Will might be disputed including:

  • Lack of mental capacity when it was signed – perhaps through illness or dementia

  • Undue influence on the person signing – whether by threats or more subtle influence

  • Lack of knowledge or approval of the contents – perhaps they didn’t read what they were signing

  • Invalid procedure or fraud – for example forging signatures or incorrectly executing the Will

  • Negligent drafting

Even if a Will is correctly drafted and executed with the full understanding and knowledge of the person who wrote it (the “testator”), it may be possible to bring a claim under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975.  This allows certain people to make claims against the estate if they can show that:

  • They were financially dependent on the deceased; and

  • The deceased did not provide for them adequately in the Will

Who can claim if they have been excluded from a Will?

To make a claim under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975, a person must be in one of the following categories:

  • A spouse or civil partner

  • A former spouse or civil partner – as long as they have not remarried and haven’t received a financial settlement in respect of the divorce/dissolution

  • A person who was not married/in a civil partnership with the deceased but who lived with them as such for at least 2 years prior to death, in the same household

  • A child of the deceased (whether legitimate, illegitimate or adopted) or anybody treated as a child

  • Anybody else who was looked after by the deceased immediately before they died, unless they were paid to do so

There is a strict time limit of 6 months from the issue of grant of probate to make claims under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975.  If you believe that you have a claim it is very important to act quickly.

At Backhouse Solicitors, we are experts in dealing with Inheritance Disputes.  Whether you wish to make a claim on an estate, or you are on the receiving end of a claim, we can help fight your corner.  Our first approach is always to seek a negotiated solution, as this will be quicker and cheaper for all parties, but if necessary we will take your case all the way to the courts.  For further advice, contact us today to book a free initial consultation with one of our solicitors.

Tel:          01245 893400
Visit:       17 Duke Street, Chelmsford, CM1 1JU
Or send us a message through the Contact Us page on this website.