Contesting a will
When a will is made public, it can contain some upsetting surprises for people who believe they should receive a bequest, but for whatever reason have been left out of the will, or have received much less than they expected. Vardags can assist either the person wishing to bring a claim or the personal representatives of the deceased in defending a claim. This includes advising on the steps to take before going to court, and how you follow the correct protocol to maximise the chance of success and negate any possibility of cost penalties.
If you were a beneficiary under a previous will that has been changed unexpectedly without the knowledge and approval of the deceased you may have a claim. If you believe that someone exerted undue influence, whether this is physical or psychological, on the deceased to sign their last will, whether a relative or carer you can question the validity of the will. You do not need to be a relative of the deceased to contest a will. If you were dependent of the deceased then you may also have a claim under the inheritance act if you believe he or she has not made reasonable. For more details please see our guide to contesting a will, guide to inheritance act claims and our guide to making a will.
How Vardags can help with contesting a will
Each case is different and Vardags will consider the merits of bringing a claim to contest a will based on the facts and the strength of the evidence supporting the claim. This will include whether there is a possible claim under the inheritance act. For more details please see our guide to inheritance act claims . The procedure for investigating the claim is well established, and must be followed before you bring a claim in court. This will include obtaining the deceased’s medical records, and speaking to any other relevant witnesses to assess the mental capacity of the deceased at the time the will was made. We can also locate previous wills to compare them to the last will to see if there are any inconsistencies. In urgent cases we can enter a caveat to stop the executors obtaining the grant of probate, when there is a real danger that they will distribute the estate assets.
Vardags will advise on the best strategy for bringing or defending a claim, using our highly successful experience in the family law courts. This could include using mediation if this is the most efficient and cost effective way of achieving a positive result.
The first step is to arrange a meeting with one of our solicitors. Therefore, please call us on 020 7404 9390 or email us to make an appointment to come and see us.
Please note that Vardags provides a bespoke service to high net worth individuals seeking advice on contesting a will from a top private client and family law firm. Our clients or their (former) partners will typically have substantial assets or income.