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Contesting a Will
Disputes over Wills can quickly get out of hand if not dealt with the right way. It is always important to balance the legal rights and wrongs of the situation against the potential consequences for important family and personal relationships. This is where expert legal advice can be so valuable.
At Devonalds, we understand that contesting a Will or defending a Will dispute is usually a very sensitive issue. We can provide clear, practical support to help you make the right decisions for your loved ones and give you the best chance of achieving a fair outcome for your inheritance dispute.
In the vast majority of cases, inheritance disputes can be resolved amicably through negotiation and other non-confrontational means, avoiding the need for court proceedings. This not only allows you to side-step a lot of potential conflict, but also typically saves a lot of time and legal fees, which can quickly eat into the value of any inheritance if you are not careful.
Whether you wish to contest a Will or are acting for the estate of someone who has passed away and need help responding to a claim, our friendly, expert team are here for you.
Why choose Devonalds for your Will dispute?
At Devonalds, we have guided individuals and families throughout Rhondda Cynon Taff and Bridgend in dealing with inheritance disputes for many years. We can use our seasoned expertise to quickly identify whether there are likely to be strong grounds for a claim against a Will and advise you on your best options.
Our team is highly skilled in negotiation and alternative dispute resolution, meaning we can give you the best chance of an amicable outcome.
We are accredited by the Law Society’s Wills & Inheritance Quality Scheme, reflecting the high level of our expertise.
At Devonalds, we are proud of our strong connection to the local community, with most of our team being born and bred in the Rhondda Cynon Taff area. This is one reason why we are so passionate about getting the best possible results for each of our clients.
Your case will be dealt with by the same member of our team from start to finish and they will be available by phone and email at all times. We are people just like you and will be happy to answer your questions clearly and honestly, without unnecessary legal jargon.
Speak to us about an inheritance dispute today
For a friendly, informal discussion about your options for dealing with an inheritance dispute, please contact your local Devonalds team in Bridgend, Pontypridd, Talbot Green, Tonypandy, Treorchy or Tylorstown.
How contesting a Will works
Grounds for contesting a Will
There are various reasons you may potentially be able to contest a Will, including:
- The Will is forged or otherwise fraudulent
- The person who made the Will (the ‘testator’) lacked the mental capacity to make a valid Will e.g. they were suffering from dementia
- The testator was improperly influenced by a third party when making the Will
- The testator did not have proper knowledge and approval of the Will’s contents
- The Will in any other way fails to meet the standard for a valid Will as set out in the Wills Act 1837 e.g. it was improperly witnessed
- You were a beneficiary of the deceased and the Will did not make ‘reasonable provision’ for your needs (under the terms of the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975)
- There was a clerical error in the way the Will was prepared
- The deceased’s wishes have been misinterpreted
Knowing whether any of these grounds apply is complicated and it is important to have strong evidence to support your claim. If you think you may have grounds to contest a Will or a claim has been brought that you need to defend, it is important to get specialist legal advice as soon as possible.
Settling a Will dispute amicably
Our first approach will always be to contact the other parties involved to see if an amicable resolution can be agreed. This can allow you achieve a solution much faster, with lower legal fees and less uncertainty than if you rely on court proceedings.
With strong skills in negotiation and Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR), we can often secure an out-of-court settlement for even complex and high value Will disputes. Our goal is always to get you the best available outcome while being realistic about what is likely to be achievable under the circumstances.
Contesting a Will in court
Where an amicable solution cannot be reached, court proceedings may be the only option. Should this be the case, our inheritance disputes solicitors will work closely with you to ensure you have all of the legal, practical and personal support you need every step of the way.
Through careful preparation of your case and making sure you have the best available representation for your hearing, we can increase your chances of a positive outcome. We will clearly explain what is involved at every stage of proceedings and what the potential outcomes are, helping to minimise any stress and uncertainty for you and allowing you to make informed choices about how you want to proceed.
Time limits for contesting a Will
How long you have to contest a Will depends on the reason for the dispute. The standard time limits are as follows:
- Challenging the validity of a Will under the terms of the Wills Act 1837 – no time limit
- Claims for reasonable provision under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975 – 6 months from grant of probate
- Claims relating to fraud or forgery – no time limit
- Where there was a clerical error or misinterpretation of the deceased’s wishes – 6 months from grant of probate
Who can contest a Will?
This depends on the type of claim, but typically someone wishing to contest a Will should be one of the following:
- A dependant of the deceased at the time of their death e.g. their spouse, partner or child under 18
- Someone named in the Will
- Someone named in a previous Will made by the deceased
- Someone who might normally expect to have been named in the Will e.g. a spouse, partner or child of the deceased
- Someone who would stand to benefit if the Will were declared invalid i.e. someone who would inherit under the rules of intestacy
Get expert help with a contested Will
For a friendly, informal discussion about how we can help you wish contesting a Will or defending a Will claim, please contact your local Devonalds team in Bridgend, Pontypridd, Talbot Green, Tonypandy, Treorchy or Tylorstown.