Invalid wills are a major issue and legal challenges are becoming increasingly common. You can dispute the validity of a will on a number of grounds. Here are a few of the legal grounds for disputing the validity of a will that can be relied on:
For a will to be valid and beyond dispute, the person making the will must have what lawyers call testamentary capacity. In other words he or she must have sufficient mental competence to make a will. The phrase “sound mind, memory and understanding” is often used. Mental incapacity can arise as a result of mental disability but the mere fact that someone is mentally ill does not necessarily mean they lack testamentary capacity. Ascertaining whether someone has testamentary capacity is often a difficult and lengthy exercise. It is usual for a Will dispute based on allegations of lack of mental capacity to require the involvement of a medical practitioner. The courts will also consider non-medical evidence, including relationships with family and friends and the contents of previous wills. If it can be proved that the maker of the Will did not have testamentary capacity then the will is likely to be declared invalid.
If you are involved in an invalid will dispute on the grounds of mental capacity and would like us to provide you with a free case assessment then contact us now
Another common reason for a will to be invalid is undue influence.
A person must be free to make their will voluntarily. If someone is compelled or coerced into signing a will then it will be invalid. Lawyers refer to such force as 'undue influence' or duress. If proved then the disputed Will is likely to be declared invalid. A Will dispute involving undue influence can be difficult to win and clear evidence of the undue influence is required.
For a FREE case assessment of your invalid will dispute contact us now.
Many invalid will disputes centre on issues of procedural validity.
For a will to be valid it must be in a proper form in accordance with section 9 of the Wills Act 1837. If these requirements are not followed then the will could be invalid. For instance, a will should be in writing and must be signed and witnessed correctly by two independent witnesses. Invalid wills often arise when they are home made. The growth of cheap internet wills is also leading to an increase in the number of invalid wills.
LACK OF KNOWLEDGE AND APPROVAL
Some Invalid will claims revolve around whether or not the testator 'knew and approved' the contents of the disputed will. Generally, this will be presumed if the will is properly executed and the testator had mental capacity. However, invalid will disputes can arise where a beneficiary has been involved in its preparation and there is a real concern that the testator may not have had the requisite knowledge and approval of the will he was executing.
For a free assessment of your invlaid wills claim contact our specialist team.
FRAUD & FORGERY
If someone is tricked into signing a will or the will is forged then it will not be valid. Although fraud and forgery isn’t widespread, it is not uncommon and a steady stream of cases make their way before the courts each year. This type of Will dispute can take many different and bizarre forms. There have even been cases of impersonation, where people visit an unwitting solicitor and pose as the testator. Executors therefore have to be vigilant and if fraud of forgery is suspected, solicitors specialising in disputed Wills should be instructed to investigate immediately.
Call our Will dispute helpline if you are iconcerned about fraud or forgery.
HOW WE CAN HELP WITH YOUR INVALID WILL CASE
If you wish to dispute an invalid will or defend an invalid will challenge then call our free helpline on 0808 139 1599 or email us at email@example.com
We operate a free legal helpline and will provide you with an initial case assessment.
We are sometimes able to deal with invalid will cases on a no win, no fee basis and are happy to consider any suitable claim.