Will Validity Claims

Advice and Assistance from Cohen Cramer Solicitors

Sometimes it may appear that a Will is just not right. Cohen Cramer can help you with the advice and help you need.

It could be an issue with the signature, the witnesses, when it was done, how it was done or the contents. There are only a limited number of grounds to challenge a Will and a Will cannot be challenged simply because it is unfair or not what you expected.  If the Will is valid but you still feel it was unfair, you may still have a claim for reasonable provision to be paid to you from the deceased’s estate.

The main problems and issues we have seen over the years fall in to the following categories:

I don’t think the true intentions of the Will  are understood  

When making a Will the law states that the Testator must know and approve the contents of the Will. This means that they must be given an opportunity to check a final draft and understand the effect of each clause as it is written. If the Testator is unable to read the Will themselves, for example they may be blind or illiterate; the Will must be read to them in full to check they approve the contents before they sign it or agree for another to sign it on their behalf.

If a Will on the face of it appears irrational then there may be a potential argument that the testator either lacked capacity to understand their instructions or they simply didn’t understand the contents.

We may need to make investigations into the way the Will was drafted, by whom and who it was witnessed by. Each case is different and if you have any concerns then please do contact us today.

The Will has not been signed or witnessed properly

To be a validly signed Will it must:

  • be signed by the deceased, or by someone signing for them at their request in their presence
  • have the signature witnessed by two or more witnesses present at the same time
  • be signed by the witnesses

If any of these legal requirements has not been carried out correctly the Will could be invalid due to lack of execution.

I think a Will has been forged or changed 

If the terms of a Will have been changed or altered by another person, or the signature does not match the deceased’s usual signature it may be that the Will is invalid due to fraud or forgery.  It may be necessary to instruct a specialist handwriting expert to examine the Will and again if you suspect anything of this nature you should contact us as soon as possible for further advice.

I think the Will was written under pressure (undue influence)

A Will should reflect the deceased’s wishes.  Unfortunately vulnerable people can be pressurised or coerced into writing a Will in a way which they really did not want to do but felt they had no alternative.  If you think that the deceased was put under pressure, by a beneficiary, to write a Will you should contact us as soon as possible for further advice.

I don’t think the deceased knew what they were doing when they wrote and signed their Will (capacity)

Due to many factors  such as an accident, illness, dementia or stroke a person’s mental capacity or ability to make decisions can be affected.  To be considered to have sufficient mental capacity to write a Will a person should be able to understand:

  • The nature and effect of making a Will
  • What they own and how much that amounts to
  • The potential claims of those who might morally expect to benefit from the Will

Furthermore the person should not have a mental illness which influences them  to leave things in a Will which they would not have done otherwise.

If the deceased fails any one of these tests the Will could be invalid due to what is known as a ‘lack of testamentary capacity’

If you have any concerns that a Will is not valid or you believe that the Will could be challenged, contact one of our specialist Will validity advisers  for further advice today:

Contact the team at Cohen Cramer for clear, sensitive, professional advice:

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