To safeguard applications being brought by disappointed relatives or beneficiaries as a will dispute, will makers need to exercise care in the Will making process.
When someone makes a Will there are two main principles that apply:
- Will making freedom – the Will maker can choose who they leave their wealth to;
- Will making duty – the Will maker has a legal duty to adequately provide for those who would reasonably expect to benefit from their wealth.
Challenging a Will
Our wills and estate team regularly advise Will makers, executors and disappointed beneficiaries in circumstances such as the following:
1. You are in the process of preparing your own Will and wondering:
- can I make my Will “challenge-proof”?
- can a cut a child out of my Will?
- can I give most of my estate to a charity?
2. You are an executor and are concerned a disappointed family member is, or might feel, aggrieved with the terms of the Will (or unfairly left out / cut out of the Will);
3. You have been unfairly left out / cut out of a Will and want to know what types of “challenges” can be made; or
4. You believe a recently-deceased loved one’s Will does not reflect his or her intentions for example that they may have lacked testamentary capacity or have been the subject of undue influence in the making of their Will.
There often are avenues open, however, for a Will to be “disputed” or “challenged” you need to seek advice as early as possible as strict time limits do apply.