Today, lawyers give a lot of importance to estate planning and there is a reason for it. Wills and estate are a way of leaving behind inheritance for your family and loved ones. You also can use your will to leave behind your business interests to a family member or friend. When a will is properly drafted, witnessed and signed, it does not leave any room for mistakes. But, sometimes there can be mistakes or other serious issues with wills or estate planning. Even the best estate defacto solicitors can make errors and when this happens it results in contested wills.
If a loved one has just passed away, it can be a traumatic experience. You will further add to your trauma if you have to contest the person's will at court. Contesting a will can be extremely painful for all parties involved as many harsh words are exchanged. Nonetheless, you have the right to contest the will of a deceased family member.
Grounds for Contesting Wills
Before you jump into the fray and begin contesting a loved one's will, you should be aware that there are some common reasons to contest wills. Usually disputes about will arise under the following circumstances:
- Beneficiaries claiming that the person did not provide for them adequately
- Parties being left out from the will
- Doubts over the authenticity and validity of the will. Sometimes parties may believe that the deceased was coerced into signing the will, the so-called will is a forgery, correct procedures were not followed when it came to witnessing and signing the will or the deceased was not capable of making a rational decision when he/she signed the will
- The will cannot be found
- Beneficiaries find a mistake in the will
- Executors of the will have a dispute amongst themselves or with the beneficiaries of the will
Contesting Your Loved One's Will
Here are some tips that will make it easier for you to contest the will of a loved one, parent, spouse or guardian.
- Get a copy of the will: It is important that before you take any other step you get a copy of the will. This will allow you to carefully check the will to spot mistakes and study the precise legal jargon used.
- Collect information about the will: It is necessary for you to know when and where the will was written and witnessed, who are the executors of the will and what was the mental state of the person when he/she signed the will. When you gather this information, you may get evidence to show the person was not in the right mental state to sign the will and this could help invalidate the will in the court of law.
- Contest the will as quickly as possible: It is not wise to take a long time to contest the will. Usually, you will have a better chance of being successful if you contest the will quickly, as judges will not feel that you have an ulterior motive in contesting the will. Also, when you contest the will quickly, there are less chances of the assets being distributed to beneficiaries, who can do whatever they want with them.
- Open a line of communication with the beneficiaries: Sometimes, it is quite possible that other beneficiaries and family members may also want to contest the will. So it is best to speak with them and communicate your intentions. They may be willing to join forces with you, which can be beneficial for you and everyone else involved.
- Hire an attorney: It is important that you hire an experienced and knowledgeable solicitor who can fight your case in court. The lawyer should be aware of the laws governing wills.
If you live in Newcastle, it is best to find a lawyer or law firm from the same area. Knowledgeable and experienced lawyers will be able to guide and help you if you want to contest a will. However, it is important that the lawyer has knowledge about wills, estate planning and all laws governing them. A good and reliable solicitor can help you contest a will successfully.