Who Can Contest A Will ?

If you have recently found out that you have been left out of a will, what are you options on contesting a will.

The starting point in all cases is that you have fall within the category of claimants able to contest a will. They are as follows :-

A Blood Relative of the Deceased

In most cases, wills are contested by blood relatives. The recent for this is that they fall within the category of claimants able to make a claim under the Inheritance Act, whilst if a will is overturned, a will is not simply overwritten but the intestacy rules may apply.

A Beneficiary Under an Earlier Will

Very often wills are changed or altered before someone has died. If this is the case, and you are a beneficiary under an earlier will, you may wish to challenge the purported final will seeking to argue that it is invalid.

Someone who was financially dependant on the Deceased

There is an Act called the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975  this enables various claimants to make a claim against an estate if it can be should that the will failed to leave adequate financial provision for them. Typically, the types of claimant will be a spouse, a son or daughter or someone who was financially dependant upon the deceased.

A person who was promised something by the Deceased

If you were promised something and can evidence this, you maybe able to make a claim against the estate under what is known as a Proprietary Estoppel claim. This involves establishing three things :-

First, A, the promisor, must give an assurance or promise to B, the promisee, that B will gain an interest in land in return for a benefit that B provides to A. The assurance or promise must be “clear enough”, and must relate to an interest in land. Whether the assurance is sufficiently clear will depend upon context. Secondly, B must place reasonable reliance on the promise or assurance given by A (There must be a causal link between the assurance relied upon and the detriment asserted). Thirdly, B must suffer a detriment, if A does not maintain his promise.

A Creditor or someone owed money

If owed money you could make a claim against an estate on the basis that the deceased owed you money. It is important to recognise the notice requirements under section 27 of the Trustee Act 1925.  This gives notice that an estate will be administered and distributed within 2 months of a specified date.

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