It’s no secret that contesting a will can be difficult, costly and time consuming. Exorbitant legal fees, time-consuming hearings and a plethora of stressful technicalities can turn even the most cut-and-dry appeals into an arduous ordeal.
The key to successfully contesting a will is definitely preparation. Read on for more information.
What Are The Grounds On Which a Will Can Be Contested?
Normally, a will can only be contested if there’s reason to think that it is in some way invalid because:
- It does not properly provide for the challenger
- It was written under the undue influence of a third party
- It was written while the deceased was not of sound mind.
Demonstrating that a will is invalid because it was written under the undue influence of a third party is certainly the most difficult way of challenging a will. To challenge a will on the basis that it was the result of coercion, you have to be able to prove that there’s reason to believe that a third party had enough power to properly pressure the deceased into acting in a certain way, as well as properly demonstrating that there’s clearly motive for coercion, and showing that the facts of the will are inconsistent with any other theory.
Challenging a will on the grounds that it was written while the testator was not of sound mind is also difficult. Again the burden of proof lies with you, and it’s difficult to properly demonstrate that the deceased have acted irrationally because:
- The mental state of the deceased is particularly difficult to determine post-mortem
- Perfectly rational people can often make seemingly irrational decisions while of completely sound mind.
Most successful challenges rely instead on demonstrating that the claimant is not properly provided for under the original terms of the will. Thanks to the inheritance act, claims of this nature are much easier to win, and far quicker to resolve.
Is There Anything Else I Need To Know About Challenging A Will?
Once you know the terms under which you intend to challenge a will, it’s important to move fast. There’s no time limit for filing a claim, but courts expect claimants to act fast, and it’s unlikely that a case will be heard after a 6 month delay. Anyone hoping to make a successful claim should click here for help challenging a will, or think about contacting a trustworthy solicitor capable of filing claims and orchestrating an appeal.