Disputes About Wills
There are a variety of reasons why a Will may be disputed.
We understand disputed estate matters often cause significant strain in family relationships, it is our aim to ensure all disputed estate matters are dealt with efficiently and amicably as possible.
A Will may be disputed because:
The Willmaker Lacked Capacity to Make the Will
When making a Will, a person must have the mental capacity (called ‘testamentary capacity’) required to be able to understand what is in the Will and how the Will is to operate after death. The Willmaker must also understand the extent of the property affected by the Will, and comprehend and appreciate the people to whom that person ought to make provision.
These types of cases commonly arise when the person who made the Will suffered some condition affecting the mind, such as dementia. Making a Will whilst suffering from a condition affecting the mind can lead to a Will that fails to represent what the person would have done had he or she been of sound mind.
In cases where it can be found that there was a lack of testamentary capacity, the Will may be held invalid, in which case an earlier Will of the deceased may apply.
The Willmaker was Unduly Influenced
Every person is free to make a Will without facing pressure from others as to what should be included in the Will. A Will should always represent true intentions of the Will maker. It is sometimes the case that family members, friends, carers or advisors are in a position to have an influence over how a person makes their Will.
The law allows people to honestly persuade or be convincing towards another person to make a Will that favours themselves. But if that pressure amounts to forced coercion of the Willmaker, and that coercion was the reason for the making of the Will, the influence goes beyond the acceptable bounds. This type of coercion is called ‘undue influence’. This may occur particularly if the person is physically weak and felt fearful of violence if the Will was not made in a particular way. However, the Willmaker need not be physically weak for a finding of undue influence to be upheld.
Please refer to our Family Provision Claims page.