All Wills must comply with the Wills Act. This requires that the will is signed, dated and witnessed by two independent witnesses (neither of whom can be a beneficiary) in the presence of the Testator. If these rules are not adhered to then the will is rendered invalid.
The Testator must also have understood the nature of making the will, the extent of the property that he or she is disposing of and the claims to which they ought to give effect to, i.e. certain people such as spouses and children who may have a certain moral claim to their property.
What is Undue influence?
Undue influence occurs when the Testator (the person making the Will) has been coerced into altering their Will. unfortunately issues surrounding undue influence are on the increase with the number of disputes now at record levels.
Contesting a will on the basis of undue influence, then,often involves cases where wills are altered close to somebody’s death or where the Testator may have been suffering from Alzheimer’s disease or another form of dementia. However, undue influence arising from a lack of capacity is very difficult to establish and expert evidence will be required to demonstrate the capacity of the Testator at the time the Will was executed.
Click here to read more about mental capacity and wills
Another reason often given for disputing a will is that the testator came under undue influence from of those who were to become beneficiaries when the will was being drawn up.
An experienced wills solicitor will be able to give advice on how challenges such as these can be avoided – again sometimes a medical report may assist. A good solicitor will also, in appropriate cases, insist that the testator is actually seen by the solicitor alone – to make absolutely sure of the testator’s own wishes.
Another common cause of will challenge cases are fraudulent wills (when signatures are altered or wills destroyed), lack of capacity of the Testator, incorrectly executed Wills, inheritance claims for financial maintenance and executor dispute cases where the Executor has acted unreasonably, or when the Testator has promised an inheritance to somebody close to them and then disinherited that person.
Click here to read more about executor disputes
Thinking of contesting a will? Don’t delay
Time is often of the essence in Contested Will cases as assets can be disposed by unscrupulous Executors. It is also imperative that you seek immediate legal assistance to establish if you are in a position to dispute a Will on the grounds of undue influence.
Click here to read more about contesting a will
Worried about undue influence or a fraudulent will? Call Us Now
For FREE phone advice on contesting a will, simply call one of our team on FREEPHONE 0800 1404544 or one of our local office numbers;
- SALISBURY (01722) 422300
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