January 09, 2019
Most of the time, when someone dies, family and friends pull together to get through a difficult time. But occasionally a death can leave bitterness or confusion behind, and sometimes a dispute about a Will can arise.
There are a number of grounds on which to contest a Will:
Anyone who is concerned about a Will can lodge what is known as a caveat with the Probate Registry. This is a warning to the Probate Registry that a grant of probate should not be issued without notifying the person who lodged the caveat. When an application for a grant is received by the Probate Registry, they will send notice to both the person who lodged the application and the person who lodged the caveat, and it is then up to them to either get the caveat removed or prove that the Will is not valid.
A dispute can end up in the High Court, which can be a very long, drawn out and expensive procedure. Sometimes a full and frank discussion about the circumstances in which the Will was made, and the reasons for suspicion, can put everyone’s concerns to rest, or bring about a compromise.
If your Will is drawn up by a professional, there is much less chance of it being challenged. A professional will consider your capacity together with any possibility of undue influence and will make sure that you understand your Will and that it accurately reflects your wishes. It will also be properly signed and witnessed. If you are specifically leaving people out of your Will, it is wise to consider a including a letter with the Will to explain the thought process behind this decision.
So, as you can see, having your Will professionally drawn up can help to avoid family disputes after your death.
If you do find yourself either acting as executor to a Will which is in dispute, or you have concerns about a Will left by a family member, take legal advice as soon as possible.
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