Will Disputes: What If You’ve Been Left Out?

Losing a loved one is always an upsetting time. That upset is only heightened if you later discover that you have been left out of their Will, or in some way under-recognised.

There are options open to you if you wish to contest a Will, thanks to the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975. The Act allows people to bring a claim against the estate in certain circumstances, when they feel that “reasonable financial provision” has not been made for them.

The courts will then evaluate where such provision has been made for you, and if not, what provision needs to be in place for you. In order to make a successful claim, you will need to demonstrate to the courts that you had a reasonable expectation of having your living costs met by the deceased.

All sorts of factors will be taken into account here, such as your financial position and needs (both now and in the future) the size of the estate and even your conduct.

There is a host of different circumstances where someone may wish to challenge a Will, for example a former spouse or a child of the deceased, or simply someone who was financially dependent on the deceased before they passed away.

There is a time limit on making a claim though – it must be issued at court within six months of the date of the grant of probate.

The court has the power to step in and revise the way that the estate has been divided – this may mean you receiving a lump sum or even the entitlement to a regular payment from the net estate of the deceased.

The issue has enjoyed a lot of press coverage in recent years, primarily down to a case where a mother left her £486,000 estate to three charities, leaving out her estranged daughter entirely.

While the daughter succeeded in challenging this, winning a six-figure settlement, that has now been overturned by the Supreme Court.

Jon O’Brien, “The 1975 Act opens up the possibility of challenging a Will if you believe you have been unfairly left out, though it is important to get legal advice first. You will also need to prove that you could rightfully have expected some sort of contribution from the deceased.”

Finance North Estate Planning Services
Cheshire Office – 0161 771 2056
Staffordshire Office 01782 963 303

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