The number of people challenging Wills has risen over the last few years.
Our lives, and those of our loved ones, are becoming increasingly more complex; second marriages, cohabitating couples and estranged children now form an integral part of many modern family units. This, combined with an increase in the value of people’s estates, and dementia now an unfortunate reality for many, are all thought to have contributed to this increase.
Who can make a Dependency Claim against a Will?
If you feel that a Will does not make reasonable financial provision for you, and if you fall under one of the categories below, then you may be able to make a dependency claim under the Inheritance Act 1975:
• You are the spouse or civil partner of the deceased
• You are an ex-spouse or former civil partner of the deceased, and have not remarried or formed a new civil partnership
• You had, during the whole of the period of two years ending immediately before the deceased’s death, lived in the same household as if you were the husband, wife or civil partner of the deceased
• You are a child of the deceased
• You are not the child of the deceased, but treated as such by the deceased.
• You were maintained by the deceased immediately before their death.
When can you dispute a Will?
Time limits on bringing a claim against a Will may apply, and they vary depending on the type of claim that you wish to bring. If you are considering contesting a Will there may be steps you need to take as soon as the person has died to protect your position – it is therefore important that you get legal advice quickly.
What makes a Will invalid?
You may also be able to contest a Will if you think that it is not valid. There are several reasons why a Will can be legally proven to be invalid, but the main ones include:
• the deceased lacked sufficient mental capacity to make their Will
• the Will was forged
• the deceased was unduly influenced
• the Will was drafted incorrectly.
This is not a full statement of the law, individual advice should be taken before taking any action.