There’s a lot of reasons that you might be considering contesting a will. Here are a few of the things you might need to think about when it comes to contesting a will, or even creating your own.
What do you do if you’ve been left out?
Contesting a will can be an overwhelming and very difficult decision to make especially if you feel like you’ve been unfairly left out. If you feel that you’re entitled to make a claim against their estate then you should think carefully about whether or not you’re likely to achieve success. If you have been left out then you or your lawyer can make an application to the court to challenge it and the court may decide to make an order than will ensure you are properly provided for by the estate of the deceased.
What can you do if you don’t agree with an executor?
If you feel like an executor is not properly doing their duties or like they might have a conflict of interest or are not acting in the best interests of the deceased then you may consider bringing an application to have the executor removed. The courts have the power to remove executors that are behaving improperly although it is up to their discretion to decide if an executor should be removed. If you’re thinking about contesting a will or feel that an estate is being mismanaged, consider seeking advice. In the case of executors that are not doing the right thing, it’s a good idea to seek advice quickly as a bad executor could be costly to the estate.
Who pays the legal costs of contesting a will?
Usually, the legal costs of making an application to challenge will be paid from the deceased estate although this is not always the case. If the executor of an estate doesn’t agree to pay the legal fees of contesting a will then you may need to make an application to the court for the costs to be covered. If you’re not successful in contesting a will then you will likely be responsible for the costs and the Court may order you to pay the estate any costs they incurred. Before you proceed with your application it’s a good idea to seek legal advice.
Should I challenge the estate?
Disputes and circumstances that cause people to consider contesting a will come about for many reasons, you might consider challenging a will if the proper provisions weren’t made for you if promises were made to you that weren’t fulfilled if there are obvious error or mistakes if the deceased was not mentally capable of making the document or did not have the capacity. Undue influence or fraud may also be another reason to challenge.
Time limits apply when and they are very strict so it’s extremely important that you get legal advice as quickly as you can if you’re considering making a challenge.
Do I have to go to court?
Challenging doesn’t mean you will necessarily end up in a courtroom. Most disputes can be settled outside of court and will not need a trial, instead, issues can be solved in mediation. If agreements can’t be reached in mediation then you’ll need to go to court to have them make a decision. The court will weigh many factors when considering your challenge including the type of relationship you had with the deceased to try and work out whether or not they agree with your challenge. If you’re challenging the legitimacy of the will then you will need to seek legal advice very quickly.