Category: Wills & Probate

contesting a will on the grounds of undue influence

Contesting a Will on Grounds of Undue Influence

Introduction to Will Contesting

When a person dies their will is usually followed to distribute their estate. Sometimes a will’s validity is questioned, requiring legal review.

Understand Undue Influence

When someone puts too much pressure on the testator, the will becomes a document that reflects the influencer’s wishes rather than the testator’s. Coercion can invalidate a will because it violates the testator’s autonomy.

The Capacity Issue

A will is valid if the testator can understand the nature and consequences of their decisions at the time of its creation. Doubts about a person’s ability to make informed decisions can challenge the will’s legitimacy.

We use medical records and/or a report from the testator’s GP to determine capacity.

Fraud and Forgery

Forged or fraudulent wills are invalid. Such practices include altering the will without consent or creating a fake document in the testator’s name.

Formal Will Requirements

Validity of a will depends on legal formalities. The will must be written by the testator and witnessed by two non-beneficiaries.

Conflicts of Interest

A will’s validity is questioned when its drafter or influencer benefits from its provisions. This often leads to will content impartiality disputes.

Disputes over interpretation

Uncertain language in a will can make it difficult to execute the deceased’s wishes. Such disputes may require legal intervention to determine the testator’s intentions.

Changes and Revocation

A testator can revoke their will by destroying it, creating a new one, or marrying, which nullifies it.

Correcting Mistakes

Legal correction may be needed if a will misrepresents the testator’s intentions. This ensures the will matches the deceased’s wishes.

Delays in Estate Administration

Disputes and delays in estate administration can stress and divide beneficiaries. These delays may be caused by legal issues or will execution issues.

Inheritance Act Claims

Family members or dependents may file Inheritance Act claims if they feel underprovided. Such claims claim the will does not adequately provide for them.

It’s only children or spouse that can apply under section 117 . If you leave family members in the above, it may imply sisters or brothers.

Legal Advice and Support

Challenging a will, especially for undue influence, requires legal expertise and a strategy to prove coercion or manipulation. These complex issues require legal representation to protect affected parties’ rights.

Conclusion

Contesting a will is complicated to honour the deceased’s wishes and prevent undue influence fraud and other malpractices. For a fair resolution, people who suspect foul play or will errors should consult a lawyer.