‘Can I contest my parent’s Will? Contested Wills lawyer, Naomi Ireson, looks at this and other questions often asked by children about inheritance law.
Can I contest my parent’s Will while they are still alive?
No, it is not possible to contest the Will of a living person.
We can discuss potential claims against your parent’s Will if you are unhappy with it, but you will need to wait until after they have passed away before making a legal challenge. That is because they can change their Will while they are alive. Furthermore, any challenge must be based on the facts as at the date of your parent’s death.
Can I contest one parent’s Will when my other parent is still alive?
Yes. If one of your parents has passed away and the other is still living you are able to challenge the Will of the one who has died. However, the outcome of your challenge is likely to be impacted if they were still married or the survivor was financially dependent upon the deceased parent.
How can I contest my parent’s Will?
Broadly speaking, there are three main ways in which you can contest your parent’s Will:
- You can contest the validity of your parent’s Will if you think they did not have mental capacity, were unduly influenced, did not understand the terms of the Will or there was a fraudulent aspect to the Will.
- You can contest your parent’s Will if it does not meet the required legal formalities. This includes the need for the Will to be in writing and correctly witnessed and signed.
- You can bring a claim against your parent’s estate under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975.
Contesting my parent’s Will under the Inheritance Act
In bringing an inheritance Act case, you are not contesting the Will but rather, you are claiming against your parent’s estate because their Will does not provide ‘reasonable financial provision’ for you. Typically, in an order to succeed in an Inheritance Act claim, you will need to show a financial need. This could include debts, an insufficient income, a housing need or a future income need (which could be, for example, based on an inability to work). Financial dependency can also be taken into account.
Inheritance Act claims brought by adult children are usually more difficult to win than claims by young children, spouses or dependants. However, we have achieved a number of substantial settlements for claims against a parent’s estate. So, if you are an adult child with restricted finances, it is worth enquiring if you can make a claim.
Can I contest my parent’s Will on a No Win, No Fee basis?
We offer a variety of funding options. It is not uncommon for children who want to contest their parent’s Will to be unable to afford the legal fees. For many clients in this position we are able to offer No Win, No Fee funding for contesting a parent’s will.
How we can help you contest your parent’s Will
The law relating to claims against a parent’s Will is everchanging. You will regularly read newspaper reports of claims against a parent’s will, which show that the approach of the courts is constantly evolving. It is therefore important that if you want to contest your parent’s Will, you speak to specialist lawyers.
We operate a free legal helpline that you can call for an assessment of your case and the availability of No Win, No Fee funding.
So, if you are wondering, ‘Can I contest my parent’s Will?’ then contact us for free guidance on 0333 888 0404 or send an email to us at [email protected]