‘What can I do if I am left out of a will?’ A specialist inheritance lawyer summarises your options.
Dealing with the death of a loved one is never easy, but when you find out that you have been unexpectedly left out of their will it can lead to a whole range of emotions being experienced: Anger, blame, guilt, resentment, betrayal, mistrust and incomprehension among them.
At a time like this you need to try to put emotions to one side and concentrate on the legal steps that can be taken to ensure you receive your fair share of an estate.
The law will step in to protect the vulnerable and it is important to seek advice from a lawyer who specialises in inheritance as quickly as possible as strict time limits apply.
Whenever I am asked by a client, ‘What can I do if I am left out of a will?’ my first consideration is the Inheritance Act. This Act allows close relatives or people who have been supported by the deceased to make a claim against the estate, even if they have been specifically excluded under the will.
Inheritance Act claims are commonly made by wives and husbands, unmarried partners, children and those who have received financial support from the deceased and have become dependant upon them.
Another option is to consider whether the will itself is valid. Wills can be declared invalid for a whole range of reasons. The will may for instance have been made by someone who no longer has the mental capacity to make a valid will; or the will may have been made subject to ‘undue influence’ from someone who wants to benefit; or the will may simply have been made without observing the formalities required by the law for a will to be valid.
Another avenue is to make what lawyers refer to as an equitable interest claim. This is where there are arguments to support a contention that you are already entitled to property regardless of what a will might say. So it could be a property that you have made contributions to, or you may have acted in reliance on a promise that property would one day be yours.
So, if you have been left wondering, ‘What can I do if I am left out of a will?’ then waste no time in contacting our free legal helpline for guidance on your options and details of our No Win, No Fee funding schemes. Call us on 0333 888 0404 or send an email to [email protected]