Disputing a Will - How or when could a Will be fraudulent?
One scenario is when the beneficiaries suspect there was some kind of manipulation or fraud by a third person. But who can start contesting a will when there are suspicions of fraud? So what is considered a fraud and what could be just an unfair decision from the person who died?
Well, what does the Law say about the people who can get involved in disputing a Will? As a guide, disputing a Will [or contested probate as it is sometimes known] tends to be limited to two groups of people:
- those who are named in the Will
- those who might otherwise inherit from the testator if the Will was invalid.
Supposing you make a Will leaving various amounts to your husband, your brother, your friend and neighbour and your best friend. Thinking it wise, you discuss your Will with your husband and tell him about the beneficiaries and the amounts left to them. Later your husband, who dislikes your brother intensely, claims he will divorce you unless you disinherit your brother. That is not what you want.
You worry that your husband might be just after more of your money. One comment and your marriage of 30 years is in trouble! It begins to sour relations between you as you become increasingly suspicious of some of his comments. He starts to tease about your Will and make unkind comments about your brother, putting you under pressure. Distraught and bothered, in a rush, you rewrite your Will, giving more to your brother than your husband.
In the event of your death, your husband could contest the Will possibly claiming it was fraudulent with involvement from your brother. If the Will is proved invalid, he will inherit from you more than you intended.
For those who can contest a Will because they are named in it, we can take the example of your best friend. She is not part of your blood family but you have left her a gift in your Will. She has the right to contest it if she feels something was wrong with it. The case could be there was a mistake in the writing – if, perhaps, she is to receive £5 instead of £500.
Solicitors are there to support, so in the sad moments after someone has gone, if you receive another shock after the reading of the Will, you may be able to successfully contest. However if you are thinking of disputing a will, make sure that any solicitor you appoint is a specialist in this complex area of law.
For advice in Dorset, Hampshire or Wiltshire from an expert Wills, Trusts and Probate solicitor, or a solicitor specialising in inheritance claims, contact our Salisbury, Andover, Verwood or Amesbury offices today.