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When someone close to you dies, it’s a really tough time emotionally and financially. But things can be made even tougher if you have been left out of their Will and you think you should have been in it. The good news is though, that there are some ways in which you can challenge their Will if you feel you have been unfairly left out.
Grounds for contesting a Will
1. Division of relationship property
If you were the spouse or partner of the person who died and you were not included in their Will, you can challenge it. The law says that if you were in a relationship for three or more years, or shorter if you had a child together, you should get half of the relationship property. So you can make a claim for half of the property that you both had during the time you were together.
2. Moral duty
If one or both of your parents died and you have been left out of the Will, you can challenge it even if you had a fight with them and you weren’t talking to each other. You can say that they have a moral duty to give you some of their property to ensure you are looked after now they have gone. Step-children, grandchildren or parents can also make a claim saying that they should have been named in their Will.
3. Invalid Will
If you think that the Will was not written properly, signed correctly or that the person who signed it was not in their right mind, you can challenge it. Maybe they signed it just before they died and were pressured to give something away to someone they would not have normally given it to. Or perhaps they were mentally ill at the time they made their will and made some wrong choices. You can even say a Will was invalid if it was not witnessed properly when they signed it and challenge its validity.
4. Promises not kept
If the person who died had promised you some money, an item or some piece of their property and this was not written into their Will, you can contest it. For instance if you looked after and cared for them every day and they promised that you could have one of their favourite pieces of jewellery when they died, but then they have forgotten to or were unable to update their Will before they died, you can make a claim saying that you should have what you were promised.
How do you contest a Will?
So now you know the reasons you can use to contest a Will, what do you do now? You need to talk to a lawyer who will talk through your options with you. If you decide you want to take things further, your lawyer will contact the Estate to say that you’re bringing a claim and to ask for financial details about the value of the Estate. Once your lawyer has this information, he or she will talk to you about whether it’s worth making a claim.
Your lawyer will probably try to settle your claim without going to Court, perhaps by going to mediation. If this isn’t possible, your claim will go to a Court hearing.
Disclaimer: The information on this page is general information only and must not be relied on as legal advice. Legal Beagle is not a law firm or a substitute for a law firm. We are unable to provide any kind of advice, explanation, opinion, or recommendation about possible legal rights, remedies, defences, options, selection of legal documents or strategies.
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