If you are thinking about contesting a will, then you need to know exactly what makes a will valid as opposed to invalid. This article looks at the requirements for a valid will and the grounds for disputing a will you think is invalid.
A valid will
A valid will should be made by a person over the age of eighteen. The testator must have been mentally capable and thus fully aware of all the decisions they were making and the consequences of their actions. They should ideally seek legal advice before making the will as this means the will is much more likely to be valid than if they did it all themselves.
The Will must be have been created without any undue influence from a 3rd party and those provisions contained within the Will must have come from the testator. The will must be signed by the testator and witnessed by two people who are not beneficiaries. The witnesses must also be convinced that the Will is valid and be happy to sign against that fact. If the will is appointing a guardian for a child, it must also be dated.
Revoking a will
A testator can choose to revoke their will at a future date if they wish to amend the provisions contained within it. Once again it must be completely their own idea to do so and the correct procedure must be followed which will ensure that the previous Will is obsolete. A will is also generally revoked when a person marries or enters a civil partnership, so this is another occasion when a new will would have to be made.
There are certain circumstances under which a will is invalid that a person may feel they are in position to contest a will. If some of the requirements are not met in the testator’s Will then this could be grounds for contensting the Will. For example, if a will has not been signed by the testator and two impartial witnesses, it could be rendered invalid. Conversly, if you then come across evidence which proves that the deceased was mentally incapable when they made the Will, you can then challenge its validity.
Be aware that people do have the freedom of choice and they are able to leave there estate to whomever they wish: proximity of relation to the deceased does not necessarily entitle you to an inheritance unless you were financially dependant on them. If this is the situation and you have been missed out, then you could have a case to challenge it. Otherwise, the only ground for disputing a will is if it is expressly invalid.
Bonallack & Bishop are solicitors specialising in contesting a will. For advice on disputing a will contact one of their lawyers today. Senior Partner Tim Bishop is responsible for all major strategic decisions at the firm, which he has grown by 1000% in 13 years. Tim sees himself as a businessman who owns a law firm.