Problems with Wills

CONCERNS REGARDING UNDUE INFLUENCE

Are you concerned that a relative has changed their Will to now include someone previously not included? If the person was a vulnerable person and has been subjected to undue influence or duress it may be possible to set aside the alleged “new” Will.

LACK OF CAPACITY & NO WILL

If a person lacks mental capacity due to illness such as Dementia, then their estate will pass following the Intestacy Rules.  However, it may be possible to make an application to Court for a "Statutory Will" where the Court will consider what a person would reasonably have decided if they had capacity to make a Will.

FORMALITIES OF THE WILLS ACT NOT COMPLIED WITH

There are special rules regarding the formalities of Wills which must be observed in order for a Will to be held valid. These can be found in section 9 The Wills Act 1837 as amended by Administration of Justice Act `982, Section 17, namely it is in writing, signed by the person making the Will and it is their clear intention to make the and give effect to the Will. The person making Will needs to sign it in the presence of two other people who are both present at the same time and who can see that the person has read it or had it read over to them and signed it.

If you do not believe that a Will has not been completed correctly it may be possible to challenge the validity of the Will. If a Will is found to be invalid then distribution of an estate may follow the Intestacy Rules on entitlements or a Previous Will if there was one in existence should the Court decide that it had not been revoked by the successfully Challenged Will.

HAS YOUR MARITAL STATUS CHANGED SINCE MAKING YOUR WILL?

Did you know that if you have made a Will but subsequently got married/entered into a civil partnership then your previous Will may have become void. Wills made in contemplation of marriage/civil partnership, however, will not become null and void. If you have since got divorced any gift to your ex-spouse will become void but if they were appointed executor they may still undertake that role.

If you have changed your marital status it may be a prudent time to review your Will.

HAVE YOU BEEN LEFT OUT OF A WILL?

Has a family member not included you their Will or were you cohabiting with a partner who failed to make a Will and left you in financial difficulties? If so you may potentially have a claim under the Inheritance (Provisions for Family and Dependants) Act 1975.

If you wish to bring a claim against the estate you must do so within 6 months of the Grant being issued and therefore it is important that you seek legal advice as soon as possible.

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