Challenging a Will – 4 key questions to consider
To determine whether a Will is valid, or whether there may be grounds upon which to challenge the provisions, there are 4 key questions to consider before taking action:
1. Have the formalities regarding executing the Will been complied with?
UK law requires a Will to be executed in a prescribed way to be considered valid. It will be invalid if it is not recorded in writing and/or the signature of the person who’s made the Will was not properly witnessed.
2. Did the deceased have capacity to make the Will?
Essentially, the testator (the legal term for the person who’s made the Will) must understand the act of making a Will and its effects. This is a particularly complex area of law and the legal test for establishing capacity to make a Will differs from the test for capacity to carry out other legal acts, such as getting married.
3. Is there any potential for a lack of knowledge or approval?
The testator must know and approve the contents of their Will. This is more specific than the general test for capacity.
4. Is there a suggestion of ‘undue influence’ or even fraud?
An individual’s Will should reflect their own free wishes. If an individual has been coerced into making certain provisions within their Will in a way which overrides their own free wishes, this could well invalidate the Will.
If you are considering contesting a Will or have any questions regarding the validity a Will you have been named in, please contact Emily King, via telephone on 0114 290 6292 or email at email@example.com.