A Will is the best possible way to ensure that your assets are distributed precisely according to your wishes after you pass away.
Nonetheless, there are a number of different factors which can allow for it to be challenged.
The main reason is a ‘lack of testamentary capacity’ – in other words, challenging whether the person was of sound mind when writing the Will. Essentially, to pass this test, it should be demonstrated that the person was aware that they were writing a Will, were aware of the value of the estate and that they understood the consequences of including or excluding people from it.
A Will can also be challenged if there are grounds to believe that it is invalid. It can be deemed invalid for all sorts of different reasons, from failing to sign it, failing to ensure it is witnessed and precisely who those witnesses are.
You can also challenge a Will on the basis of a ‘lack of knowledge and approval’, which is where you believe that the person was not completely aware of the contents. An example here may be if a person who helped to prepare the Will is left a substantial gift. Along similar lines, it can be challenged if you believe it was written under undue pressure or duress, or if you believe it is fraudulent or has been forged.
If a Will does not reflect the actual intentions of the testator (the person whose Will it is) it can be challenged too. This could be because of a clerical error, or because the person preparing the Will failed to understand their wishes.
Lastly, the effect of a Will can be challenged by those who are left out of the Will if a “reasonable financial provision” has not been made for them. However, success of a claim is dependent on proving that they could reasonably have expected that their living costs would have been met by the deceased, unless they were married or cohabiting.
To find out more about how to have your Will written professionally to reduce the chance of dispute, contact our Estates team on 01903 231545 or email us.