Wills Can Go Wrong – Contentious Probate
Everyone should have a Will
The person making the Will (the Testator) will need to consider all of the potential beneficiaries, some of whom may need financial support in the event of the Testator’s death and some of whom the Testator might wish to benefit for a variety of other reasons. The making of a Will is a relatively straight forward exercise and your solicitor will talk you through the process. It is also relatively inexpensive compared to the possible consequences of inaction or, in some cases, the dreaded home-made Will.
There are many potential problems where a Will is not professionally drafted and executed with supervision, which can lead to a contentious probate claim following the testators death. These can include:-
- The Will may not have been validly signed and witnessed and, therefore, may have no effect.
- The wrong person may have acted as a witness, losing an intended benefit under the Will.
- Amendments may not have been properly signed and witnessed.
- The wording of the Will might not reflect the true intention of the Testator and might not have the desired effect. In some cases, a lack of clear intention can cause the whole Will to fail.
- There may be a dispute as to the Testator’s mental capacity at the time that the Will was made or as to whether the Testator was subjected to pressure.
- The Will may not deal adequately with the needs of potential beneficiaries or the Testator’s dependants, leading to claims being made against the estate.
- There may be no valid Will, so that a dependant or family member is left to rely upon the intestacy rules, which might not provide reasonable financial support in that person’s particular circumstances, leading to a claim against the intestate estate.
- There may be issues over the administration of the estate and the actions of Executors or even the past actions of attorneys during the Testator’s lifetime, which need to be investigated.
Taunton Solicitors deal with many contentious probate cases. We are aware that these cases are sensitive as disputes over Wills and Estates tend to involve close family members and often arise at a time of great personal loss.
We can assist by providing early advice and gathering appropriate evidence, whether you wish to bring a claim or defend a claim, including the instruction of experts where appropriate.
We will refer the dispute to mediation or alternative means of dispute resolution, where that may be of assistance. Otherwise, we will represent you in proceedings up to judgment, providing advice and support at every stage.