One of the reasons why someone may want to challenge a Will is that the deceased was unable to write an accurate Will due to mental health reasons.
It is estimated that 1 in 4 British adults experience at least one diagnosable mental health problem in any one year, and one in six experiences this at any given time. It also known that approximately 450 million people worldwide have a mental health problem.
With these figures the prospect of contesting a Will after someone mentally unwell dies, becomes an important issue to have in mind. But this kind of illness can affect a Will and it may have to be contested.
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Lacking Mental capacity is ground for Challenging a Will – a case study
One of the most famous cases of disputed wills in the UK, due to mental health problems, was the Kostic family.
In 2005, pharmaceuticals mogul Branislav Kostic died leaving all his £8.3 million fortune to the Conservatives party. At this point, his son Zoran had to contest the Will at the High Court, arguing that his father was ‘deluded and insane’ when he wrote his Will in the 1980s. Apparently, he wrote it after saying Mrs Thatcher would save the world from ‘satanic monsters’. His son claimed that the whole of the estate to the party was ‘in part the product of the state of his mind’.
The story of Branislav Kostic states that in 1984 he became mentally ill and diagnosed as suffering from paranoia. His son said that he was tormented by delusions that other members of the family were part of a worldwide conspiracy of terrorists and criminals who were trying to kill him. Due to this, Clare Montgomery QC – representing Mr Kostic’s son – said the Conservatives ‘only benefited because the testator became mentally ill’.
This is an extreme, but real, case of how unavoidable it might be in having to make an inheritance claim after someone with a mental disorders dies. Solicitors and lawyers, who will act discreetly, can help to solve things quickly and, if possible, avoiding Court.
Challenging a Will Contest How Much Time Do I Have?
There are strict limits for making an Inheritance Act claim. You must contest a will within six months of the grant of probate, or you could lose your right to claim entirely. In very did situations, court may permit a claim after this period – but general terms, you should stick to that six month deadline.
So if you think you might have grounds for a claim it is vital that you speak to a specialist solicitor ASAP.
Specialist legal advice – call us now
If you are worried about someone in your family who might not be able to write a proper Will for mental health reasons, it might be a good idea to do some research and get specialist legal advice before you and your family have to go through probate solicitors, disputes and Courts after the funeral. After all, those are the least things you should worry about when someone dies.
Click here to read more about questions regarding mental capacity for wills
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