Can Your Will Be Contested After Your Death?
Written a will, but wondering if it’s enough?
Here’s what you need to know about wills and securing your loved ones’ future before it’s too late.
Not many people know but there is a chance that a will could be contested after one’s death.
That’s not something anyone wants to hear.
What is will contesting?
Contesting a will means exploring the reasons why a will may not be valid and how it can be legally challenged on this basis.
If you are a person contesting a will, speak to will dispute solicitors. As a dispute, you should have a vested interest in it, meaning you must be a spouse, child, cohabitee, or a person who is expressly mentioned in the will, or a previous will.
What are the reasons for contesting a will?
The validity or fairness of a will can be called into question for a lot of different reasons – most of which could be circumvented with the right forward planning and a frank conversation with your loved ones.
A will’s validity can be called into question if someone feels that the testator (the person who wrote it) did not have the mental capacity to assert their wishes at the time of writing.
If they were suffering an illness or injury that may have impaired their judgement, then this could lead the courts to declare the will invalid.
In this instance – and any other where the will is invalidated – the rules of intestacy take over, and only a few close relatives stand to inherit anything.
Other reasons that can be used to contest a will include:
- Undue influence – someone may have misled the testator with lies or pressured them into writing the will a certain way.
- Financial responsibility – if the testator had any financial dependents that were not provided for in the will, they may have an argument against the will.
- The testator was not aware of some or all of the wishes expressed within the will.
- Clerical errors, such as issues with signing and witnessing.
How to avoid any issues with your will
It’s all about foresight and clarity.
First of all, you’ll want to work with a solicitor to ensure that your will is clear, comprehensive, and legally sound – for instance, without any minor clerical issues. DIY wills are a risk. There’s a lot more to creating a strong will than writing down your wishes and putting it in a drawer until further notice.
Next, it’s best to have an open and honest conversation with your loved ones about what they can expect. It’s not productive for someone to believe they stand to inherit something that, later, will go to someone else, and it could cause major issues within the family unit.
You’ll also want to stay on top of updating your will.
No will can survive years or decades without needing to be changed – say, as a result of a new relationship, new children or grandchildren, new assets, or, alternatively, lost assets.
If your will doesn’t reflect your current situation at the time of your death, it could cause a lot of issues for everyone involved.
Inheritance is a tricky subject, but it’s always best to tackle it head-on rather than leaving anything to chance.