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Trust and Probate Disputes

The death of a loved one can be a very distressing time for all involved. Most Wills are uncontentious, and the Estate of the deceased will be distributed unchallenged. At P.A. Duffy, our expert solicitors will be able to help you and your family by providing sound legal advice in a professional and compassionate manner.

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However, where someone believes that they have been disinherited, a claimant can (in some circumstances) challenge a Will on the grounds that it did not make adequate provision for him/her.

A Will can also be challenged on grounds of validity, these usually involve claims that the testator lacked testamentary capacity, that the Will was not properly executed or that some form of undue influence or fraud was involved.

Whether you are seeking to contest a Will or are the beneficiary against whom a claim is being taken, you should seek legal assistance promptly. Our team are experts at resolving disputes involving the interpretation of the will, the valuation of assets, disputes between beneficiaries and dealing with the validity of the will. Our Dungannon and Belfast-based Trust and Probate solicitors will advise you on the best course of action to serve your particular needs.

FAQs

When can I challenge a will?

Our team can provide guidance on the validity of your challenge and help you navigate the legal process. Keep in mind that there are strict time limits for contesting a will, so it's crucial to act promptly if you believe there are valid reasons to do so. Common grounds to challenge a Will include:

  • Lack of Capacity: If the testator (the person making the Will) did not have the mental capacity to understand the nature and effect of their Will at the time of making it, the Will may be challenged. This could be due to issues like dementia or mental illness.

  • Undue Influence: If someone exerted pressure or influence on the testator that led them to make a will that did not reflect their true wishes, the Will can be contested.

  • Forgery or Fraud: If the Will is suspected of being a forgery or if there was fraudulent activity involved in its creation, it can be challenged.

  • Rectification and Construction: In some cases, a Will may contain ambiguous or unclear terms. This can lead to disputes over the interpretation of the Will, which can be resolved through a court's construction or rectification order.

  • Family Provision Claims: If a family member or dependant has not been adequately provided for in the Will, they may be able to make a claim for financial provision under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975. This is not a direct challenge to the will but a claim for additional provision.

Can I challenge a Will before the death of the testator?

Challenging a Will before the testator's death is typically not an option, as the Will does not take effect until after the testator passes away. If you believe there are issues with the Will, it is usually advisable to wait until the testator has passed away, at which point you may be able to challenge the Will based on legal grounds, such as lack of capacity, undue influence, or improper execution. It's essential to consult with a solicitor experienced in wills and probate to understand the specific circumstances and determine the best course of action if you have concerns about a Will. At P.A. Duffy & Co., we will be able to provide expert advice in your situation.

How will I know if the Will has been correctly executed?

Several conditions must be met to confirm that the appropriate formalities have been observed, including:

  • The individual creating the Will should have testamentary capacity, meaning they must be at least 18 years old and mentally sound

  • The creation of the Will must be a voluntary act, free from undue influence, and the individual must comprehend the contents of the Will

  • The Will must be in writing

  • The person making the Will sign it in the presence of two witnesses, and those witnesses should also sign the will in the presence of the person making the Will after they have signed it

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