Disputes over wills are among the most fraught and distressing legal challenges that are seen, in no small part because they only occur during an already emotional time.

To understand how to handle disputes over wills, whether you are making a dispute, part of a dispute over inheritance or applying for probate, it is important to understand the most common reasons disputes will occur, your rights and how the dispute process works.

As with many legal issues, preparation, expediency and acting promptly are vital to ensure your issue is effectively addressed.


Why Are Wills Disputed?

There are as many issues that can cause an inheritance dispute as there are familial issues. Every family is unique and so are their circumstances.

Despite this, many will disputes are issues of either eligibility of an inheritor or disputes over the will itself.

The former category involves situations where adult children of the deceased are not included, where a family member is disinherited who could otherwise make a claim or disputes between siblings as to who has the right to inherit the estate.

On the other hand, there are also disputes about the validity of the will, which often include more varied issues.

The first and more major example of this is when a will is considered invalid as described by the Wills Act 1837.

The writing and especially the signing of a will is a very detailed legal process and there are many elements and safeguards in place to ensure that the deceased’s wishes are fulfilled.

A will must, for example, be signed and dated, in front of two witnesses who also sign the will to confirm this.

As well as this, the will that is read out must be the original document to ensure that nothing has been changed. This is why secure will storage is a vital part of the process.

It must also be the last will they had written, not be tampered in any way, must dispose of all assets and must take into account marriage and any dependents.

If any of these provisions are not met it can open the will up to challenge.

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