Managing Will Disagreements The Right Way: 4 Tips

January 13, 2024
2 mins read

Managing Will Disagreements The Right Way: 4 Tips

By Business Desk

Friday, September 20, 2019.

A last will and testament is a legal document specifying who gets the property of a deceased person, and who is in charge of settling the estate. However, things do not always go smoothly, and in some cases, a will contest occurs – this is a lawsuit that seeks to invalidate or change the will in some way. There are many reasons why a will dispute may be filed; perhaps you or another relative believes that the will does not reflect the final wishes of the deceased, or you believe that you should have been included in the will when you were not. However, it’s important to bear in mind that contesting a will can be very emotionally and financially draining, so you will need to be ready to manage any disagreements the right way.

#1. Determining if You Have Legal Standing:

If you are thinking about contesting a will for any reason, then the first thing you need to do is determine whether or not you have legal standing to do so. Not everybody is legally entitled to contest a will. In most cases, you will need to be listed as a beneficiary named in the person’s will or be an heir. If you are contesting a will because you are not listed as a beneficiary, then you will usually need to have been listed in the previous will. A good solicitor will help you go through the facts and determine your legal standing.

#2. Understanding the Grounds for Contesting:

Along with your standing as a current or previous beneficiary, you will usually only be able to contest a will if you have the right grounds to do so. There are several grounds that allow for contesting a will, which includes: a belief that the deceased was under coercion or influence at the time of writing the will, lack of testamentary capacity, a lack of knowledge and approval, and fraud/forgery. A person must be ‘of sound mind, memory, and understanding’ when making a will.

#3. Don’t Waste Time:

Once you have determined that you have the grounds to contest a will, then it’s important that you do so in a timely manner. There are limits that apply when contesting a will, which can vary depending on the individual case. As a general guide, the limit for submitting a claim under the Inheritance Act is six months from the date probate is granted, however, there is no time limit if you are submitting a claim on fraud grounds. Bear in mind that in any inheritance dispute, the quicker you seek legal advice the better.

#4. Making Payments:

Contesting a will can be a costly endeavour, so you may be wondering who pays to contest a will. In most circumstances, you will be required to pay any necessary legal fees regardless of the type of dispute you are bringing. Many solicitors in this field will work on a ‘no win, no fee’ basis allowing you to have peace of mind as you will only pay the legal costs if your case is won and your opponent has paid their share to you.

Contesting a will can be a costly, time-consuming, and emotionally draining process, so it’s important that you know how to manage any disagreements and disputes correctly.

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