Who is eligible to contest a will?

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Contesting a will Who is eligible to contest a will?

A will is something that the testator or the deceased has left behind. This will points out the distribution of the assets. The testator decides what asset should go to whom. In this will, he also describes his wishes regarding his last rites or funeral. However, there may be some terms in the will which may not make some members of the family too happy. In such a case, they can contest a will. All the same, the law does not give the right to any random person to contest a will. Only a limited number of people are allowed to contest a will. Therefore, disputing a will can be pretty challenging.

If a person feels that he should have been given a share in property or assets in question by the Testator but was denied the rights, he can contest a will in the court of law. For instance, if the deceased had three children but the will gives access to property or assets to only two of them as per the Testator’s will, the third child can contest a will to get an equal share in the property or asset involved. However, the third child contest the will needs to be pretty cautious. If the testator had previously written wills wherein the third child had no access to the properties or assets, he would have to knock out these older wills and get to a point where the testator died without a will.

If the testator had mentioned the name of an entity like a charity to receive a part of the assets or property in his earlier wills, but reduced the share or completely banished their name in the latest will, then this entity can challenge the will. They have the right to and can contest the will in a court of law. Even in the case of banks, the same rules apply. If at any point of time, their name had been replaced in the latest will, they can challenge the will in the court of law.

As per the inheritance act, a spouse, children, parents and a de facto partner can make claims to the assets or property of the testator. There are certain rare cases where grandchildren, former spouses and former de facto partners can also make claims to the assets or the property in question.

However, there are certain people who do not have the rights to claim the property or assets. They may not have the valid legal standing to do so and disputing a will will be futile in their case. There is a possibility that the testator did not include your name in any of his previous wills. You may also not be an heir at law. In such circumstances, you cannot make claims on the will. Even if you were a loved one or a best friend of the testator, unless it has been mentioned in the will, you cannot make claims to their property or assets.

Sometimes, you may not be sure of your legal standing. You may want to know more about the system and how it works. In such a situation, you must consult an estate lawyer. Estate lawyers are well versed with these situations and will come to your rescue if you do happen to have any doubts regarding the will or contesting of one. They will go through the terms and the will left behind by the testator. They will also try to know about you and your relationship with the testator. With all the information, they will be able to come to a conclusion.

Author’s bio:

Carter is an estate lawyer and specialises in matters of the will at DisputingWills.co.uk. According to Carter this (find ways to challenge a will) is the most common problems that he deals with on almost a daily basis. He has a degree in law and loves to cook in his spare time.


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