Disputes Over Wills are not just for Soaps

Millions of people (not me by the way !)  have been watching the storyline in Coronation street regarding a row following the death of character Aiden Connor, by suicide. The row started over the validity of the will, that was originally concealed, and the financial claims for maintenance.

While the storyline in the soap is not real, (sorry  soap lovers storylines in soaps are not true and Aiden is not really dead) , challenges to the validity of a Deceased Will and or claims by certain qualifying relatives which can be made under the statutory provision know as the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975 (The Act) do arise regularly and are on the increase.

Every Will, other than a privileged Will (one that extends to soldiers in actual military service and to mariners or seamen at sea)  the way in which a  valid Will is to be made is very strict . The will must be in writing. The will must be signed by the Testator (the person making the Will) or by some other person in his or her presence and by his or her direction. It must be clear that the testator intended by his/her signature to give effect to a Will. The signature must be made in the presence of two witnesses present at the same time. Each Witness must attest and sign the Will or acknowledge his/her signature in the presence of the Testator.

The validity of a will may be challenged if any one of the above conditions is not mot met or there is uncertainty regarding any one of them.  In addition there are other grounds on which a will may be challenged.  These include, but are not limited to, at date of the will the Testator did not have the ‘mental capacity’ to make a Will, a more common issue with the rise of Dementia among the elderly. The presence of undue influence and fraud are other examples of situations in which wills can be challenged.

This is a complex and  ever increasing area of law and we at Biscoes we can help, guide, advise  and represent you in all aspect of any potential  claim. Certain time limits apply for some aspects of these case and or a need to act quickly to prevent a Will be proved (the obtaining of a Grant of Probate) may be required if the Will is to be challenged  on anything other that the statutory provision.

If you believe that you have a claim or would like to speak to our specialist then please contact Kevin Richardson at our Portsmouth office on 02392 660261 or by e-mail krichardson@biscoes-law.co.uk

The contents of this article are intended for general information purposes only and shall not be deemed to be, or constitute legal advice. We cannot accept responsibility for any loss as a result of acts or omissions taken in respect of this article.