Your Guide to Contesting a Will
Wills are legally binding documents that are used for distributing the assets of a deceased individual. If the deceased has left a will behind, the courts will use their power to implement the will. However, in most cases, honouring the will of the dead becomes a pretty serious and contentious issue. If any party mentioned in the will is not satisfied or feels as though the will is not authentic, the law gives them the chance to file a claim against it. However, filing for a legal claim is not as simple as it seems. You will need legal advice from an experienced lawyer before you can file any type of claim. However, there are several particulars that you need to keep in mind when contesting a will.
Understanding the Law
Contesting a will is a pretty sensitive matter, because the court is essentially required to overturn the dying wishes of the deceased. Therefore, the law itself is very carefully worded to minimise the chances of ambiguity. First of all, you need to understand that only specific parties are able to file a claim. This includes the immediate first family of the deceased, such as their wife, children, or any siblings. Grandchildren are also allowed to file a claim, provided they are able to show that some sort of contact was maintained with the deceased during their life.
One important thing that you should know about the law is that it isn’t designed to mess with the parting will of the deceased. In fact, the courts try their level best to ensure that the will of the deceased is carried out exactly how they wanted. Here are some of the situations in which the law can be invoked.
- The law only becomes applicable if the situation is deemed to be “grossly unfair” by the courts;
- It can also be invoked if the financial needs of the family need to be met;
- If there are any dependents that were fully or partially dependent upon the deceased, some part of the will may be distributed to them;
- The mental capacity of the deceased is also taken into consideration. There have been a number of cases in the past where the deceased was coaxed into making a will that favoured one party over another, despite not knowing what they were doing at the time. As people reach their old age, their mental capacity decreases sharply. The law will consider several factors in order to determine whether the deceased was of sound mind when the will was originally created.
Hiring a Lawyer
If you feel as though the will is unfair or meets any of the criteria mentioned above, you should contact a lawyer that specialises in contesting wills. The lawyer will closely study the original documents and then determine whether you have a reasonable case or not. Most lawyers that handle such cases have a “no win, no fee” policy. This means that unless the lawyer is able to obtain a favourable outcome, they won’t charge a penny for their services.