In the UK & Northern Ireland, people are largely free to leave their property, money and assets to whoever they like upon their death. However, there may be many reasons why the terms of a person’s Will may be disputed after their death.
Doubts as to the deceased’s mental capacity when the Will was made
Concerns as to whether the deceased was under the undue influence of another party when the Will was made, and therefore the Will does not reflect the deceased’s true wishes
Doubts as to whether a Will was effectively executed. To be valid, a Will must be executed in a particular manner, which most lay people do not appreciate.
Doubts arising as to the interpretation of the words contained within the Will.
If the deceased failed to make “reasonable financial provision” for a specific class of person in their Will.
The Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) (NI) Order 1979 details specified categories of person who have the right to make an application to the Court seeking to share in the estate of a deceased person, if that deceased person failed to make reasonable financial provision for them in their Will.
Equally, if someone dies 'intestate' (i.e. without a will), if beneficiaries are not happy about their inheritance (or lack of), they may be able to make a claim under intestacy rules.
This is an area of law with many uncertainties. At Francis Hanna & Co Solicitors, we can provide specialist advice and assistance in respect of either challenging a Will or defending against such a challenge.
Many Inheritance Provision claims are often resolved by means of negotiation and mediation and we promote this approach when appropriate. With each of our Partners trained as accredited mediators we are well placed to guide clients throughout the mediation or litigation processes.