There are many different reasons that you may wish to dispute the will of a loved one. Whatever your position, disputing a will is never an easy decision. It must be made at an incredibly difficult time, when emotions are inevitably running high for both yourself and others in your family or friend circle. It can be difficult to come to terms with the death of a loved one, especially when you perceive that they have dealt you an unfair hand in their will, or if you are suspicious that there has been foul play. Whatever your reasoning for disputing a will, you will need to build up a strong base of evidence with the help of a lawyer in order to win your case. Here are some of the most common reasons for disputing a will.
Unfair Distribution of Assets
You may think that a person has the right to distribute their assets in any way that they wish, but in fact this is not always the case. In some events, where there are dependent parties involved, the deceased has a responsibility to provide for them properly in the event of death. These types of will disputes can be made by a previous spouse, whose finances have been depleted as a result of something such as mutual children, a current spouse who was financially dependent on the deceased, plus any children or other dependents. Claims can be made for things such as maintenance, education fees and other needs. Likewise, if one child was provided for where another was not, their needs can be assessed and they may be eligible to lay equal claim to the estate.
In some events, it is not immediately clear from the will exactly what is meant to go to who. In such cases, it is obviously impossible to consult the deceased for clarification, so it is often necessary for a court to assess the situation and make a fair judgement.
In the event that you are suspicious that an outside party may have had undue influence in the writing of your loved one’s will, you may stand a chance of bringing the case to court. Evidence can include a suspicious last-minute change in the wake of a new person coming into their life, towards the time of their death, or proof that your loved one was forced, threatened or coerced into changing their will.
Failure to Distribute Assets
If the executorwho has been given the responsibility to distribute the assets according to the will fails to do their duty promptly or correctly, then this is another common reason for a will dispute to take place. Such disputes will involve a Court ruling to ensure that the assets are divided as they were supposed to be.
Lack of Capacity
Finally, lack of capacity can be a big factor in will disputes. It is not uncommon for elderly relatives to suffer from mental conditions, such as dementia, or debilitating physical conditions, which would hinder their ability to execute their will properly. In such an event, the contents of their will may be deemed invalid and a Court may rule to redistribute the assets.
If you believe that your loved one’s will needs to be disputed for any of the reasons above, then you should contact a lawyer immediately to discuss your case.