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Contesting a will - what to do

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  • Contesting a will - what to do

    Hi, I had a thread a couple of months ago after my father passed away. I'm hoping to start this new one for the specific questions that I have.

    https://legalbeagles.info/forums/for...-advice-please

    I've now received a copy of the will - it names the brother and mother as executors, and mother, or if the mother has died, the brother as sole beneficiery. I, the only son, am not mentioned at all, apart from a strange paragraph excluding any child conceived outside of marriage (I was).

    So, I want to contest the will, under undue influence and lack of capacity. However, I don't want to get a solicitor as honestly I can't really afford it. So, I have a few questions

    1) How far can I go through this process without using a solicitor, or most importantly without incurring the legal costs of the other side?
    2) Is it possible to get free legal advice? Or to go someone to take the case on a no win no fee basis?
    3) What would I need to show lack of capacity? He had been very ill several times, and I can't believe he fully understood the stuff that is in this will.
    4) Can I do anything to try to find out the value of the estate or what it includes? I couldn't even put a ballpark figure on it at the moment.

    Any other advice would be great. I just want to feel like I'm doing something about this, as at the moment I feel like I've been completely shafted.

    Any thoughts or advice would be great. Thanks.
    Tags: None

  • #2
    Hi, any thoughts on this?

    Comment


    • #3
      Hi again N20998,

      I haven't seen a clause like that in a Will before, but you do see all manner of things in them.

      I believe I have already pointed out the difficulties in proving undue influence. Lack of capacity may be slightly less difficult although you would need to provide evidence that proves your father lacked capacity at the time he made and signed the Will. Mental capacity in relation to giving instructions for preparing a Will and at the point of signing is a legal concept. If lawyers were used to prepare the Will then it is usual for someone's capacity to be considered and attendance notes made about the meetings with the client.

      Does the Will indicate that it was prepared by a lawyer?
      Even if someone has a dementia diagnosis it does not always follow that they do not have capacity to make a Will. People have lucid moments and provided they understand what they are requesting and the effect of the Will when they sign it may still be valid. It is often the case if a lawyer who is preparing the Will has any doubt about the person's capacity they can ask a Dr to assess the individual and also carry out their own assessment which would be documented in the person's file.
      Has a Grant of Probate been issued yet? If it has then you can apply for a copy, which will give you a gross and net value of the estate. You can apply for a copy here:- https://www.gov.uk/wills-probate-inh...robate-records

      You may need to consider whether contesting the Will on it's validity is the best course of action. An Inheritance Act claim may be open to you but there are strict timescales in which to bring a claim (6mths from the date of grant of probate). It may be that an agreement can be reached between the executors and yourself through mediation with the threat that a claim would be forthcoming if agreement can't be reached. I am not suggesting this is what should be done just flagging the things that may need to be thought about before deciding on a particular course of action.

      I appreciate you may not be in a position to pay for a solicitor but I think at this point you do need to get some formal advice on what the likelihood of you succeeding in any claim would be, or whether there are any other options available to you.

      In the first instance I would get yourself either a free half hour or reduced fee initial appointment just to discuss what options there may be. They should be able to give an indication of the sort of evidence you would need to show there had been undue influence and the likelihood of being successful in any other type of claim too. Bearing in mind the relatively recent relationship you had with your father it may be difficult to gather any evidence, so you need to be aware of all the potential options that may be available, before making a final decision on what to do next.

      I am a qualified solicitor employed by the LegalBeagles forum to provide guidance on a wide range of legal queries. I am happy to try and assist informally, where needed.

      Any posts I make on LegalBeagles are for information and discussion purposes only and shouldn't be seen as legal advice. Any practical advice I give is without liability. I do not represent people on the forum.

      If in doubt you should always seek professional face to face legal advice.

      Comment


      • #4
        Hi Peridot,

        Thank you so much for the detailed response. The situation has now turned really bad and very personal. I don't know what to do but I don't feel I can provide the details on the open forum.

        Thanks again for taking the time to respond.

        Comment


        • #5
          Hi again,
          I’m sorry things have deteriorated so far. Please try and find a free half hour/initial face to face appointment so you know what options you may have.
          We’re here for support if we can help.
          I am a qualified solicitor employed by the LegalBeagles forum to provide guidance on a wide range of legal queries. I am happy to try and assist informally, where needed.

          Any posts I make on LegalBeagles are for information and discussion purposes only and shouldn't be seen as legal advice. Any practical advice I give is without liability. I do not represent people on the forum.

          If in doubt you should always seek professional face to face legal advice.

          Comment

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