Defending a Will challenge
If you require expert assistance with defending a challenge to a Will then call our free helpline on 0333 888 0407 or email us.
Our team of Legal 500 recommended inheritance lawyers are frequently asked the question, “Can I defend a Will challenge?”
If you are an executor of a Will or you are a named beneficiary, then you are entitled to defend the challenge.
Executors should remain neutral when a Will is challenged, but beneficiaries are under no such obligation.
The legal validity of a Will can be challenged on a variety of grounds. The most common grounds for contesting a Will’s validity are:
- mental capacity
- undue influence
- want of knowledge and approval
If the challenge is successful then the terms of the invalid Will have no legal standing and the estate will be administered in accordance with the most recent previous valid Will. If no earlier valid Will exists then the estate shall be administered according to the rules of intestacy.
It is therefore important that those who are challenging the Will and those who are defending the challenge have a clear view of what the financial consequences will be for them should the challenge succeed or fail.
When defending an invalidity claim it is important to focus on the grounds being relied upon by the challenger and the evidence they have disclosed to support their case. Our lawyers will often consider the file of the solicitors who prepared the Will and may also obtain a statement from that solicitor. We also regularly review medical and care home records and speak with the people who witnessed the Will.
Inheritance Act claims
A claim may be made under the Inheritance Act by any person who has legal standing to do so and can demonstrate that the Will has failed to make reasonable financial provision for them.
The categories of claimant under the Inheritance Act include spouses, partners, children and anyone who was financially dependent on the deceased. The precise rules are quite technical so it is worth speaking to one of our specialist lawyers about this before taking action.
Inheritance Act claims should be brought within six months of a grant of Probate being issued and can be opposed if they are out of time.
There are many arguments that can be relied upon to defend an Inheritance Act claim. One of the most common defences is that the claimant has no need for any (or any additional) financial provision from the estate.
Entering a Caveat
It is common for those seeking to challenge a Will to enter a Caveat. By doing so it prevents a Grant of Probate being issued. However, a Caveat should not be used to cynically buy time in an Inheritance Act claim. Nor should one be used as a stalling tactic to indefinitely delay the administration of an estate. Our lawyers are highly experienced in dealing with Caveats and are able to counter delaying tactics.
We have prepared this guide on How to Remove a Caveat which you may find helpful.
How we can help you defend a Will challenge
We specialise in defending inheritance disputes and have a large team of lawyers who deal exclusively with contested probate claims nationwide. You can read all about some the various cases we’ve handled by going to the case studies section of this site. Those case studies include one where a beneficiary successfully defended a challenge to a Will.
So, if you require further guidance on, ‘Can I defend a Will challenge?’ then you can phone or email our free legal helpline and speak to a genuine expert.
Call us on 0333 888 0407 or send an email us at [email protected]