When can you challenge a will? How a will can be contested.
The idea of a will is that you can decide who inherits after you’ve died, but there are – limited – circumstances in which it can be challenged.

It seems that a combination of the tough economic conditions and a rise in the number of second marriages and has meant that more people are willing to contest or challenge a will than before. But the process of challenging a will can be lengthy, emotionally draining at best (and incredibly divisive at worst) and expensive. And there’s no guarantee that you’ll get the financial benefit you believe you’re entitled to at the end of it.

Reasons why you can challenge a will
In the UK there are only limited circumstances when you can challenge a will. These are:

• Because the will is invalid. This can be for a variety of reasons, such as the person whose will it is (called the ‘testator’ in the jargon) was unduly influenced or coerced or because they did not have the mental ability to know what they were doing or because the will wasn’t signed or witnessed correctly.

SAVVY TIP: Most challenges using ‘undue influence’ as a reason are a result of concerns about a carer, neighbour or – sometimes – one family member putting pressure on the person. An increase in cases of dementia has seen a corresponding rise in the number of families challenging wills on the basis of a lack of mental capacity.

• Because a family member wasn’t provided for. Husbands, wives, civil partners, children and dependants can make a claim if they haven’t been left anything/enough in the will.

SAVVY TIP: In England and Wales, the Act that the challenge comes under is the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975. In Scotland husbands, wives, civil partners and children have ‘legal rights’, which basically means they are entitled to a share in everything you own that’s not land or buildings no matter what is written in the will.

When do people contest a will?
There are lots of different situations when someone might challenge a will, but the kind of trigger events can be:

• Step families. Say a parent dies after a short second marriage and leaves everything to his wife, who in turn leaves it all to her children. This may mean his children with his first wife get nothing and they may challenge the will.

• Families that are not close (either geographically or emotionally). A parent may leave much or most of their assets to a carer, a neighbour, a charity or even the local restaurant. Family members may suspect she or he has been put under pressure to do so.

SAVVY TIP: Paula James, a partner with law firm Thomas Eggar, says that an elderly person who relies on a carer or his/her neighbours can – sometimes – be vulnerable. “I’ve known cases where someone has been worried that their neighbour or carer will stop coming round if they don’t leave them something in their will. Sometimes they want to leave them some money, at other times they’ll come under pressure to do so.”

Who can make a claim?
While a number of family members have the right to challenge a will, there’s no guarantee that you’ll succeed.

• If you’re a husband/wife or civil partner. If your husband/wife/civil partner left all their money to charity or someone outside the family, the courts could intervene if they thought you hadn’t been provided for.

• If you’re a young child. A judge could rewrite the will if a dependent child wasn’t being provided for.

SAVVY TIP: These are the rules for England and Wales, in Scotland, 'legal rights' - as described above - apply.

• If you’re an adult son or daughter. You would have the right to bring a claim but (in England and Wales) you’d only succeed if you could show that you’d been dependent on your parent financially.

SAVVY TIP: Adult children with mental health problems or a mental disability who had been provided for by a parent while they were still alive would be able to make a claim, but an adult child with independent means would be unlikely to succeed.

Warning! Legal action can be expensive and time consuming
Taking legal action is never likely to be cheap, but the cost of contesting a will, particularly in England or Wales, can be hefty.

• The dispute may have a long history. Quite often the disagreements are not just about the will but are the culmination of a long-standing family feud. This means that it’s even harder to reach a settlement.

SAVVY TIP: A number of solicitors will encourage both sides to use mediation to settle disputes about wills (as it’s cheaper and can increase the chances of reaching an agreement), but not all families will use it.

• The law can seem unfair. Sometimes parents can favour one child or cut close family members out of the will altogether, but unless there’s a reason why they should be provided for, there may be little you can do.

SAVVY TIP: Paula James of Thomas Eggar says that some parents give a lot of money to one child throughout their adult life and then try to redress the balance in their will by leaving their money to the other child. "In fact, the child who's received money throughout their adult life has a very good chance of making a claim precisely because they've not been financially independent."

Related articles:

Complaining about a solicitor; when you can complain

Understanding lasting powers of attorney

How to pay less inheritance tax

SavvyWoman email newsletters: If you found this information useful why not sign up now to receive free fortnightly email newsletters with money saving tips and help? You can sign up at the top of any page on the website and your details won’t be passed to any other company for marketing purposes.

SAVVY HELP: Why not ask Savvywoman's panel of experts a question about your finances by clicking here? The answer will be displayed on the website but your surname will never be used.


Validate: What are HSBC, Lloyds, NatWest and Barclays?

Posted by Val dated 2010-08-05 07:18:38
My daughter and granchildren are adult and independent. Through a rift we have no contact. I would like to leave a small gift to my grandchildren, but would not want to give any cause for any of them to challenge the rest of my will, so is the gift a sensible thing to do? Thanks - Val
Posted by Sarah Pennells dated 2010-08-05 20:41:04
Hi Val, Thanks for your question. I'm going to forward it onto Nicola Plant, the wills and trusts expert. I'll add a comment here when the answer goes live (or include the comment, if there's space.
Posted by Sarah Pennells dated 2010-08-10 22:02:14
Hi Val, Here's Nicola Plant's answer - I hope it's useful: Provided you are of sound mind you are free to leave your estate to whoever you wish. However, you cannot prevent certain categories of
individuals (usually dependants) from bringing a claim against your
estate in certain circumstances. Adult children and grandchildren would not automatically be entitled to or successful in a claim, but that wouldn't necessarily stop them from trying. Putting a gift in your will might be enough to stop this, but any attempt to make the gift conditional on them not bringing a claim would fail.
Posted by BUTTERFLY dated 2011-03-15 10:08:43
Posted by Sarah Pennells dated 2011-05-08 23:31:47
Hi Butterfly. Thanks for your comment and huge apologies for missing it earlier. I'm afraid that unless your partner leaves a will saying that he wants you to have a share of the property, you have no rights to it. The only exception would be if you owned the property between you jointly and as joint tenants. From your comment I'm assuming that it's his house. If that's the case, he should draw up a will or you would not be entitled to a share in the property.

Apologies again for missing this comment and I hope the answer helps.
Posted by hoya6 dated 2012-06-27 17:38:09
my mum & her partner were together 27yrs he died & left a will he left her the house car & residue & some bequests to others.he had no family only 2 1st cousins in the usa.one had already died so his share is left to his 2 adult kids who were not dependent on the deceased.he didnt even know one of them & sent xmas cards to the other.they are saying my mum should only have a life interest as it is 'family' wealth,but the will was done by a solicitor & the deceased was a very organised financially,he also kept a lot of records detailing his worth & these people would not have inherited had their father not died can they dispute the will?
Posted by Miller dated 2013-01-27 23:14:25
I have lived with my partner in the house that i own for 13 years who died recently. He has amassed quite a wealth in the last 13 years. Maybe more so as he did not have any housing overheads as I paid for all the bills and food etc. Will i be able to contest the will if it was written over 20 years ago?
Posted by buckley dated 2013-02-06 14:53:34
I have two adult children. One lives abroad and the other abroad or wherever work is, spends some time with me. My will is for an equal share. Is there anything that the house not be sold so my second child has a place to come back to on and off. Put it in trust!
Posted by Sarah Pennells dated 2013-02-14 17:15:16
Hi Buckley, Thanks for your question and sorry for the slight delay in replying. Could you give me some more detail about your situation. Would you be able to divide your estate in two without the house being sold? I'll try and get an answer for you...
Posted by Sarah Pennells dated 2013-02-14 17:21:34
Hi Miller, Thanks for your question and sorry for the delay in replying. You may be able to bring claim under the 'Inheritance: Family and Dependants' Act of 1975. I'd recommend that you take legal advice from a solicitor who specialises in wills and trusts and who has experience of 'contentious probate', as it is called. You have to do this within six months of grant of probate being obtained. I'm basing this suggestion on the fact that you don't live in Scotland, where the laws are different.
Posted by Sarah Pennells dated 2013-02-14 17:23:18
Hi Hoya, Apologies for the huge delay but I've not been able to post due to a glitch. From the information you’ve given me, I think it’s unlikely that your mum’s late partner’s cousins will be able to contest the will. The fact they think of his money as ‘family wealth’ is neither here nor there, under English Law. They would have to show they were financially dependent on him or that he drew up the will when he was not of sound mind. The circumstances in which someone can challenge a will are quite limited.
Posted by Worried dated 2013-02-15 18:31:45
Hi, Would my father's girlfriend (who is not a UK citizen) be able to contest a will that left her out of any settlement. In other words, can a non-UK resident challenge a UK will ? Thanks for any help!
Posted by Sarah Pennells dated 2013-02-16 10:30:26
Hi Worried, Thanks for your question. The honest answer is that I don't know, but I'll try and find out for you. What I can say is that, even if she could challenge the will, there are limited circumstances in which your father's girlfriend would be able to do so. As a minimum they would have to have lived together for two years and she wouldn't be able to challenge the will just because she wanted a share of your father's money. I'll update this comments section once I find out if there is a bar to a non-UK person challenging a will drawn up here. I suspect not but I could be wrong.
Posted by Worried dated 2013-02-16 10:44:55
Great thanks, I appreciate the advice, very kind.
Posted by Sarah Pennells dated 2013-02-16 11:35:55
Hi worried, No problem. It might take a day or two to find out, but if I've not updated this by Wednesday, do leave another comment to remind me!
Posted by karonga dated 2013-02-19 00:01:32
mother deserts her baby conceived during an affair to save face with family. Returns to UK. some years later reunites with said daughter but still does not reveal her to be her daughter and does not introduce to family as the daughter is the image of her. Instead wants to hide the fact that she had an affair whilst her husband was at war. The affair resulting in the birth of the one and only child she had over 2 marriages. Over a period of 25 years mother and daughter have communicated via mail, cards trips to UK paid for by the mother. The mother had stated that the daughter would benefit after her death and reveal the name of her father and family. The mother has now died and daughter wants to know if she may have a claim on the estate. The mother lived in UK and the daughter was left in Canada with her 1st husband.
Posted by Sarah Pennells dated 2013-02-19 10:19:34
Hi Karonga, I'd suggest that you see if you can get hold of a copy of the will from the Probate Registry in the UK. You can do a search for this. It will only show you copies of wills once probate has been granted (ie once permission has been given to start the legal process of paying any debts and dealing with the finances your mother left behind). I hope that helps.
Posted by Sarah Pennells dated 2013-02-22 18:13:20
Reply for Worried, Hi Worried, Sorry for the delay in getting you a proper reply. I double checked the answer with Nicola Plant, who is SavvyWoman's wills and trusts expert. This is what she said: "It’s the deceased’s domicile at death [which means roughly the country where they permanently reside] that’s relevant for the purposes of bringing a claim under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975. The girlfriend then needs to come within one of the classes who can make a claim . If she’d been co-habiting with the deceased for two years prior to death then she can satisfy this. She has six months from the date of the Grant of Probate to issue a claim, but can then have up to four months in which to serve the claim. Executors should, therefore, be wary about distributing assets in the estate until after 10 months from the date of the Grant.
Posted by nigel dated 2013-02-25 14:51:30
We've launched a hub called VideWill.com which enables people to video their intentions and the reasons behild their decisions to their own private hub. In the event of their passing the parties can watch and better understand the rational behind the distribution of assets.
Posted by Worried dated 2013-02-26 07:15:06
Thanks very much for the clarification, it's appreciated
Posted by Sarah Pennells dated 2013-02-26 08:03:20
Hi Worried, You're very welcome. Glad it helped.
Posted by Sarah Pennells dated 2013-02-26 08:07:42
Hi Nigel, Thanks for the comment. I've had a look at your website and I'm a little unclear about exactly how it works, but I think the principle behind it is interesting. However, when many people baulk at paying £150 or so for a will, I wonder if they'll want to pay £100 a year for a message?
Posted by Kitkat dated 2013-03-05 23:02:23
Hi the father of my two children re-married and had another 2 children, he died and left all his estate to his new wife. My children did not recieve a penny and my maintance stopped and his new wife got the life insurance and paid her mortgage off circa £500k house and lives very comfortable whilst we were left with nothing -should our dependent children have been provided for or is it too difficult to contest? thanks
Posted by Sarah Pennells dated 2013-03-06 10:03:44
Hi Kitkat, I don't know how old your children are, and I'm not a lawyer so can't give you an expert answer, but I'd suggest that you talk to a lawyer who specialises in disputes over wills to see if this would be a possibility. Here's a link to the relevant act, which is the Inheritance (provision for Family and Dependants) Act. It does mention former wives who have not remarried, and children. http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1975/63
Posted by Louise dated 2013-03-16 09:04:51
My Mum has been in a defacto relationship for approx 25 years living in the U.K. She now has dementia and was recently taken into hospital. The next day her partner died - had had left a will leaving Mum provided for but within 2 days the Executors (his nephews) said Mum was not allowed back in the house - all her stuff had to be cleared out and her partners will was null and void as they (the two nephews/executors) had taken their Uncle to the solicitors and a new will had been made. In his first will of which we have a copy - she is provided for. Have we any grounds to fight this?
Posted by Sarah Pennells dated 2013-03-17 07:44:25
Dear Louise, Thank you for your commment and I'm so sorry to hear about your mother's situation. I was shocked when I read your comment. This is a specialist area of law, but I would have thought it was worth taking the advice of a solicitor who specialises in 'contentious probate' (ie challenging a will) to see if your mother has a case. See if you can have a chat with someone for free or on a low cost fixed fee basis to see if there is merit in your mother taking legal action. A couple of things - you said your mother was in a 'de facto' relationship for 25 years - do you mean that she and her partner had lived together? She will only have a case if she has lived with her partner for at least two years. The real difficulty will be in proving that her late partner was not of sound mind or had been coerced when he drew up a will. Unfortunately, the law in England and Wales allows someone to change their mind and leave money to whoever they choose. If you haven't already done so, ple
Posted by Tabatha dated 2013-03-29 13:32:55
Hello,. Me and my brother have rarely had contact woth our real father due to his wife forbideen him to see us. We have never had any money or support from him. we have been told by his wife that their will is made out to their other son ( our step brother) could me and my brother contest it?
Posted by Sarah Pennells dated 2013-04-02 12:56:32
Hi Tabatha, Thanks for your question. I'm sorry to hear about your situation. It must be difficult not to have been allowed much contact with your father. I'm afraid - as the article above tries to explain - that it's possible and legally allowable for someone not to leave money etc to one or more of their children if they don't want to. The only exception to this is in Scotland, where children have 'legal rights' to inherit a certain amount, no matter what is in the will. If you and/or your brother are or were financially dependent on your father or you believe he was coerced into making his will, you can probably challenge it. However, otherwise, you may not have grounds for a challenge. As with all the information on SavvyWoman, this is guidance and not legal advice.
Posted by Lost niece dated 2013-04-02 13:53:11
My aunt had left me her home in her will for many years and we were very close as we were her only family on her parents side . After a stay in a secure hospital ( which I travelled many miles and spent 3 full weeks having her released) she turned on me for arranging her affairs so that she was being looked after and could not be exploited as I was too far away to look after her day to day well being. Her neighbour to whom she was friendly but not close took over and convinced her to rewrite her will and stop taking my calls . Not to benefit from it herself but to redirect the funds to another member of the family she thought should inherit . Mainly just to prove she was in charge . It has been 18 mths since I have had any contact. Do you think I could contest the will? As I love this house and I was in it as a baby so I have always called it home .
Posted by Sarah Pennells dated 2013-04-04 21:45:59
Hi Lost Niece, Thanks for your comment. I'm really sorry to hear about your situation. It must be very hard when you've been so close to your aunt. I don't know much about your situation but I would suggest it may be worth talking to a solicitor who specialises in wills and contentious probate. I don't know how high the 'threshold' is for you to be able to demonstrate that your aunt had been put under undue pressure and a solicitor who specialises in this area should be able to tell you. Use one who is recommended if you can, or look on the Law Society website. A solicitor who is a member of STEP (the Society of Estates and Trusts Practitioners) specialises in wills and trusts.
Posted by Mark G dated 2013-04-06 13:58:43
My natural mother died 20yrs ago. My step-dad died 2yrs ago and left everything to his natural son, my step brother. Can I contest the will?
Posted by Sarah Pennells dated 2013-04-08 13:31:28
Hi Mark G, Thanks for your question. As you may have gathered from my replies to earlier questions along similar lines, it's a grey area and challenging a will isn't easy. Unless your mother was from/in Scotland, where children have certain rights no matter what's in the will, you don't have any rights to inherit. You could talk to a solicitor, but my gut feeling (no more) is that you'd not be able to challenge the will without demonstrating that you had an expectation that you would inherit - either because your mum had supported you when she was alive and you thought that would continue after her death or were dependent on her financially. It's a complex area, so you might want to get professional advice.
Posted by casandra dated 2013-04-10 20:53:32
I am executor of a will which I have probate for. My late father had a lady friend who had lived with him for about 8 years. They were not close in his last 2 years and didn't share a bedroom. He didn't leave her anything in his will and she is now saying she is entitled to some money. As a guide, if she was entitled to claim, how would this be calculated. She has her own house and substantial savings. She was renting out her property while she lived with dad so she is losing her income from that as she is moving back into the property.
Posted by Sarah Pennells dated 2013-04-11 06:24:15
Hi Casandra, Thanks for your comment. I'm afraid I don't know how much your late father's lady friend might be able to claim, if indeed her challenge to the will is successful. It's a specialist area so I would suggest that you talk to a solicitor who has experience of 'contentious probate' (ie when a will has been challenged). If you are worried about the cost, you could contact Lawworks, which provides free advice (but it's a limited service). I don't know how they select who they will provide free advice for, but you can copy and paste this link to find their website: http://www.lawworks.org.uk/
Posted by georgie dated 2013-04-13 19:04:40
due to a family dispute my father had no contact with me for 20 years in his will he left me a 7th portion of the proceeds of his land. It is being disputed that there was an error made by the solicitor and that I was not to received anything. The will was made in 2007 while he had his full mental awareness. My mother and other family members say the will is wrong and he meant me to have nothing. Does his will stand or can they make a declaration that my inheritance is invalid?
Posted by Sarah Pennells dated 2013-04-15 06:58:35
Hi Georgie, Thanks for your question and I'm sorry to hear about the dispute. I can't give you advice, I'm afraid, as it's a specialist area, but in broad terms, your family would have to show that your father was coerced, didn't have mental capacity or that there was a mistake in the will, in order for it not to be valid. I don't know if you have any information about what the error could be that their solicitor is saying has been made on the will? The bottom line is that your inheritance couldn't be taken away because it's not what the rest of your father's family want.
Posted by Tom dated 2013-04-18 03:55:21
my wife and i want to leave our home and belongings to our daughter, she is not financially secure and has four children to provide for, one with learning difficulties and ill health, we have always been very close to her. Our son however is financially secure with grown up, independant children and has distanced himself from us over the years. We have told him of our plan for our will and he has threatened to contest the will after our deaths. Does he have a case? I would be grateful for any advice.
Posted by Sarah Pennells dated 2013-04-18 07:17:27
Hi Tom, Thank you for your question. As I've said to others who've left a question, this is a complex area and I'm not a solicitor. However, unless your son could show that you weren't of sound mind when you made the will, or that you were coerced (or unless there's a mistake in the way the will has been drafted), he would have to show that he was either financially dependent on you or that he had an expectation that financial support would continue (so, of for example you gave him regular gifts of money while you were alive, he could try and show that he'd expected these to continue after your death). If he is financially secure and an adult, he can't just challenge your will because he doesn't like what you're doing.
Posted by Hayleymac87 dated 2013-04-29 18:52:20
Hi, my dad died 9 years ago, then his dad died 3 years after followed by my dads mum 2 years after. My dads sister (my aunts) who we do not speak to anymore, told me at my dads mums funeral that there was nothing left in the will all the money had gone on caring for their mum (my nan). At the time I was young and didn't want to challenge this. My aunts is living in my nan and grand ads house since they both died. Surely I should be entitled to half the house as my dad would of been left half but he died. Is it too late to challenge the will as it has been about 3 or 4 years since my nan died?
Posted by Sarah Pennells dated 2013-05-03 09:13:03
Hi HaleyMac87, Thanks for your question and sorry for the delay in replying. Your first step should be to get hold of a copy of the will from your dad's mum and your dad. If your dad died without a will, you would stand to inherit (as I'm presuming your mum had already died). However, the fact that your dad had already died by the time his mum died would have meant that anything that was left to him by his mum would have passed to other relatives - either under intestacy rules if there was no will or through what was left in the will. If your dad's mum didn't make specific provision for you, my understanding is that you wouldn't have an automatic right to inherit based on the fact that your dad would have left you something if he'd been alive. It's worth having a conversation with a solicitor who specialises in this area as I can only give you general guidance and I'm not a solicitor.
Posted by cassie dated 2013-05-07 15:30:25
my husband was left money by his sister as were another brother and sister (she being the executer of the will) my husband got in toutch with another brother asking if he had received anything who then contacted his sister who was executer to find out he had been excluded from the will.She was really angry at my husband for telling the brother and is threatening to contest the will to give the other brother half of my husbands inheritance also she gave us a cheque which is in her name can she stop this ? as it hasn't cleared yet don't know where we stand
Posted by Sarah Pennells dated 2013-05-08 06:33:42
Hi Cassie, Thanks for your question and I'm sorry to hear about the stressful situation you and your husband find yourselves in. I'm not a lawyer, so this is for guidance only, but from what you've told me, I can't think that your husband's sister (the executor) would be able to challenge the will. I don't know what her justification would be? She can't challenge it just because she's angry with your husband (although the fact she's threatening to do so is rather sad and frustrating). The only way she would be able to challenge the will is if your husband's brother (who was excluded) had been provided for by the other sister while she was alive and could expect that to continue or if he was financially dependent on her. Also, bear in mind that these cases can be complex and costly, so I doubt she'd really want to take that on. As regards the cheque that's not yet cleared, I'm afraid she could get it stopped, although it would depend on how quickly she contacted the bank after she'd
Posted by cassie dated 2013-05-08 09:52:20
Thank you for confirming what I thought was true will have to wait until Friday and see if cheque clears fingers crossed ad regards the excluded brother he is financely secure
Posted by Sarah Pennells dated 2013-05-09 10:22:31
No problem. I hope the cheque isn't stopped..
Posted by sweetpea dated 2013-05-17 11:14:47
My husbands step mum has just died and as far as he knew he was going to be left a third of his dads half of the estate including proceeds from the house sale. His half brother has now said that his mother has left only a third of his dads half of one bank account to him and the rest goes to his two half brothers. My husband has not seen either will.
Posted by Sarah Pennells dated 2013-05-20 11:08:09
Hi Sweetpea, Thank you for your question. If your husband is a beneficiary (which he will be) he has the right to see the will. Once probate has been granted (debts paid and the money and assets distributed) anyone can see a copy of it anyway. I'd suggest your husband asks if he can see a copy of it - as is his legal right. Unfortunately, at a time like this it's easy for families to fall out but hopefully your husband's half brother will realise that - as an executor - he should let your husband see the will.
Posted by Anna dated 2013-05-29 20:04:36
Hi my sisters husband has just died he has left his estate to her his wife but his 2 children are executors of his will and have not applied for probate she has asked them but nothing has been done she contacted the solicitor who has told her she can't do anything until they apply for probate but she needs the money to clear the mortgage where does she stand
Posted by Sarah Pennells dated 2013-05-31 09:03:11
Hi Anna, Thanks for your question. I'm afraid I don't know what you can do if you have an executor who doesn't apply for probate promptly. I'll see if I can find out and post an update here. It must be very frustrating for your sister. It would be worth contacting the mortgage lender, if she has not already done so, so she can explain the problem to them.
Posted by bec dated 2013-06-08 21:08:49
Hey there hopefully a straight foward question. Is it possible to dispute a will if therr is evidence that a new will has been made even if a copy of it cannot be found. Evidence for example being, a sample will filled out, credit card charge to a diy will company, emails stating a new will is being made etc? Thanks very much bec
Posted by Carol dated 2013-06-08 23:45:08
Hi My mother and her husband, both on their second marriage have been married for 25 years. Both have separate wills. Her husbands will states that his estate of 600k goes to his 4 children only and nothing at all is in place for my mother, in other words whats belongs to him is hes and whats belongs to my mothers is hers which all parties have accepted this arrangement but i do have a question later. My mothers estate 160k includes a house and a few acres of land, i have lived in her house for the last 18 years. The house will come to me and the land will be shared between me and my two sons. Question one, if something happens to my mother first could her husband contest my mothers will. Question two. if something happens to her husband first, could she contest his will due to him not making any arrangement for her after his death, the reason i ask this is because his property would have to be sold because their will be four beneficiary's, this in turn would leave my mother li
Posted by Sarah Pennells dated 2013-06-10 13:02:23
Hi Bec, Thanks for your question. I'm afraid I don't know if the fact that someone may have paid for a DIY will is enough to challenge an existing one. I'll ask Nicola Plant, SavvyWoman's wills and trusts expert, and see what she says. I'll update the comments box as soon as I get a response.
Posted by Sarah Pennells dated 2013-06-10 13:08:40
Hi Carol, Thanks for your question. It's quite a detailed one and, as I've said in previous answers, I'm not a solicitor so can only give guidance. I'd say it may be possible for your mum to challenge her husband's will and vice versa, but it would probably depend on the agreement they've both signed to say they have their own wills. That might negate their ability to challenge each other. I would have thought this would be something they'd have taken advice on before they drew up their wills. If not, I would suggest they each talk to a solicitor who specialises in this area.
Posted by bec dated 2013-06-11 09:45:45
Okay thanks very much for taking the time to answer
Posted by John dated 2013-06-14 09:47:48
I am an only son with one surving parent, my mother widow of my father whose will have been proven. Should she make a will or leave me as beneficiary by sucession?
Posted by Keith dated 2013-06-14 15:18:05
On 10 June my mother passed away one at home in the UK aged 93 while I was in hospital in Ireland having eye surgery following a vitrectomy, the result of an assault. Due to a long standing burn injury to the other eye, my vision is now extremely poor. I am 63. My mother's solicitors inform me that my mother's will, when all gifts are executed, leaves 60% of the residue of the estate to my brother who is 70, 30% to his daughter and 10% to myself. Can I challenge this?
Posted by Sarah Pennells dated 2013-06-17 13:26:31
Hi Keith, Thank you for your comment and I'm sorry to hear about your attack and operation. I hope you are on the mend. As I've mentioned in other comments, the aim of this article is to give a broad outline of the circumstances when someone can challenge a will. You can't just challenge a will because you think it's unfair or that your mother should have left you more. However, if you think you fit any of the criteria I've mentioned, it is worth pursuing. If you want to find out more about your options I would suggest you contact a solicitor, who will be able to advise you on the basis of your own circumstances - in detail.
Posted by Keith dated 2013-06-17 20:11:32
Hi Sarah Thank you for responding. Having now had access to more documentation, I am of the opinion that influence was brought to bear on my mother as she changed her will
Posted by Sarah Pennells dated 2013-06-18 06:40:32
Hi Keith, I'm sorry to hear that. If there's any evidence she was 'coerced' or placed under undue influence, you may have a case. However, it's not very easy to prove. There's an article here that describes some of the challenges of proving undue influence: http://www.wrighthassall.co.uk/articles/2012/06/27/difficulty-alleging-undue-influence-probate-matter/ . Sorry not to be more helpful, but good luck if you decide to pursue it further.
Posted by merlin12 dated 2013-06-19 19:48:01
My aunt and uncle have no children but where very close to my mum. my mother has taken care of my aunt for years,she was in bad health yet mentaly ok, my uncle told mum, he was going to make my brother executor 15yr ago, as he thought maybe mum would be to frail when he died, leaving a thousand pounds to 27relitives including my mum.. he said he trusted my brother to do the right thing, both my aunt and uncle are now dead, my brother says the money gifted in the will is all mum is going to get and he says he is keeping the rest, property and money, I doubt we can do anything about it i am so angry for my mum. who is now in bad health. I expect there is nothing we can do to make my brother do the right thing as my uncle wanted. my uncle i know for sure did not mean for my brother to keep the lot, my uncle wanted my brother to take care of his mum.
Posted by Sarah Pennells dated 2013-06-20 09:50:34
Hi Merlin12, Thanks for your comment. Apologies if I'm misunderstanding what you're saying, but did your aunt leave the remainder of her estate (after the 27 gifts of £1,000 had been paid out) to your mum? If the will spelled this out, that's what should happen. Have you seen a copy of the will? It's something you should be able to see...
Posted by Jane dated 2013-06-20 16:43:42
Hello. My 2 sisters are asking to see the will of my father who passed away recently, however I was the only beneficiary. Do I have a legal duty to provide them with a copy as soon as I receive the will? (Not going through probate)
Posted by Rosie dated 2013-06-21 01:02:33
My cousin died recently. I am her next of kin in Australia. She had no family, parents, children, spouse. She left her complete estate to charities. Her properties were mostly inherited from our mothers' side of the family. Would I be in a position to contest her will. If not apart from receiving a copy of her will am I entitled to know how her will is dispersed and what happens to her house in England in the meantime?
Posted by Sarah Pennells dated 2013-06-21 12:37:18
Hi Jane, I'm not a solicitor but my understanding is that you don't have to provide a copy of the will if you're not going through probate, although I believe it may be able to reduce the time in which someone can challenge a will if that's a possibility. If the will was very clear and left everything to you, which it sounds like it did, it might be worth letting your sisters see a copy of it to put their minds at rest, but this has to be your decision.
Posted by Fred dated 2013-07-01 15:42:58
My mum died in Nov 2012 (my dad had previously died), her Will was granted probate on 31st Dec 2012. I completed form and payment for copy of it from probate in January 2013 (as I was not executor), did not receive it until today 1st July, looks like probates process of sending copy does not work. I now find out that I am not mentioned and want to contest but understand I should do this within 6 months of grant. As this is the fault of probate not sending me a copy, can I still contest stating that probate failed?
Posted by Sarah Pennells dated 2013-07-04 10:13:30
Hi Fred, Thanks for your question. I'd suggest you contact a solicitor to get some advice from them. I don't know whether you can extend the six month time limit on the basis that you didn't receive a copy of the will. It might also be a good opportunity to talk about the basis for challenging the will and whether it is likely to succeed.
Posted by Anabelle dated 2013-07-08 15:37:13
I just recently got married again .my husband promised to make a new will and name me in it,what happens if he dies before chaning it?will everything go to his children form first marriage(who are grown up )?wiil I have any rights at all?
Posted by Anne dated 2013-07-08 20:53:38
My brother has claimed his legal rights.......1/8th of the moveable estate. In my father's will he was left 1/10th of the moveable estate. Can anything be done to prevent him from succeeding? Scottish Law apples here. Thank you.
Posted by Sarah Pennells dated 2013-07-10 10:51:26
Hi Annabelle, Thanks for your question. The answer depends on whereabouts in the UK you live, however, I can reassure you that you would be unlikely to be left with nothing if your husband didn't make a new will. If you live in England, Wales or Northern Ireland, marriage revokes a will (but does not do so in Scotland). I've included a link to an article I've written which explains who inherits what if there is no will. You can read the article by copying and pasting this link: http://www.savvywoman.co.uk/c6-pages/c6s6.php?art_id=56 I hope it is useful to you
Posted by Sarah Pennells dated 2013-07-10 10:52:50
Hi Anne, Thanks for your question and I'm sorry to hear about the challenge. I do have a Scottish lawyer who is an expert on inheritance who I can contact. I will email her and see if she is able to answer the question on the basis of the information you have provided. If she is, I will add her reply in this section.
Posted by Rosie dated 2013-07-10 23:48:11
Haven't received an answer to my request yet Sarah. Perhaps you could tell me who to contact in England.
Posted by Sarah Pennells dated 2013-07-13 05:48:23
Hi Rosie, Thanks for your question and I'm so sorry I missed it first time round. I'm not quite sure why that was, but I'm sorry I didn't spot it earlier. As I've said in response to earlier questions along similar lines, without knowing a lot more about your circumstances, it's impossible to say whether or not you can challenge your cousin's will. She is entitled to leave all her money to charities, if that's what she wants to do, and I'm afraid it doesn't really matter where she inherited it from in the first place. However, if you believe she was not mentally capable of deciding who should get what, or if you think she was coerced (or if the will has been drawn up incorrectly), you may have grounds for contesting it. Do you know who the executor of her estate is? If so, they would be worth contacting. Otherwise, you'll definitely have the right to see the will once probate has been granted (when it becomes a public document).
Posted by Rosie dated 2013-07-15 04:49:35
My cousin's solicitor has sent me a copy of her will and it does appear that I do not have grounds for contesting her will. Very many thanks Sarah for your reply to my comment.
Posted by Sarah Pennells dated 2013-07-15 06:49:52
Hi Rosie, Thanks for your reply to my comments - it's much appreciated. I'm pleased you have been able to get hold of a copy the will, so at least you know where you stand. Sarah
Posted by t terrible dated 2013-08-07 22:14:46
My boyfriend and I made a will if either dies first everything goes to other person,house car etc.Can his sister stop the will where I can get the little money hes left for me.
Posted by Sarah Pennells dated 2013-08-09 09:53:42
Hi T Terrible, Thanks for your question. In broad terms, unless your boyfriend's sister could show that she was receiving payments from your boyfriend before he died (and therefore could expect to be left money in his will), there is probably nothing she could do about it. There are strict rules about who can challenge a will and the circumstances behind it. It is easier, for example, for a child to challenge a will (or someone to do so on their behalf) if they've not been left money than for an adult sister or brother to do so. She can't challenge his will just because she'd rather the money went to her than to you, for example!
Posted by CeeDee dated 2013-08-09 15:28:03
My mum was in hospital for about a month before she passed away and 7 days before she died my auntie went in to hospital with a solicitor and my mum wrote a new will leaving loads of stuff to my auntie. My auntie and I do not see eye to eye and have had many arguments. I just find it a bit odd that suddenly my mum decided to change her will just 7 days before she died. I can't prove she wasn't of sound mind but she was definitely on many drugs to relieve pain. I want to contest the will because Im not even sure its my mums signature on the bottom of it. What should I do? THANKS
Posted by Sarah Pennells dated 2013-08-10 10:04:04
Hi CeeDee, Thanks for your question. I don't know the answer off the top of my head, but I would suggest that you look at the website of an organisation called Action on Elder Abuse (if you copy and paste this link, you'll find it: http://www.elderabuse.org.uk/) or get in touch with them. They have expertise in the area of financial abuse of elderly people, including those who may have been put under pressure to alter their will and may be able to tell you what to look for. I'll see if I can do some more digging about this and will update this article if I find out anything helpful.
Posted by Meg dated 2013-08-14 20:42:47
Hi, please can you advise if there is anything that can be done in this situation; my uncle and his wife were both spinsters who married late in life. They had no children and a few years ago my incle advised all his nephews and nieces of inclusion in their joint will a few years ago. Sadly my uncle died some time ago and the family home which he bought and livedin with his mother for a long time prior to his wife joininghim after their marriage His wife, our aunt has recently died and had alzheimers over the last 3-4 years and it has come to light that her brother from South Africa came over in 2011 and took her to write a new will during the time she was vunerable in the will bequeathed everything to him uncluding the home and family contents of my side of the family he has obviously ensured nothing that was originally discussed and intended for my uncles side of the family in their joint will has been honoured. The gentleman has died and all of the contents of the will including
Posted by Sarah Pennells dated 2013-08-15 06:21:43
Hi Meg, Thanks for your question. It sounds like a very difficult situation. I'm afraid the last part of your question was cut off (there is a word limit on the comments box). Would you be able to add the last part and submit that again? I think I can work out what you're going to say, but it would be really useful to see the entire question for myself. Sorry for any inconvenience.
Posted by Meg dated 2013-08-15 21:22:22
Hi, sorry I didn't realise the wording limit. All the contents including the family house and of particular sadness family ornaments belonging to Nana. Uncle had said if anything happened to him there was a box in the loft with papers etc he wanted his side of the family to have, the box has been removed so we have no way of knowing what it was he wanted us to make sure we found. We are deeply saddened that the house now has gone to who it was never intended for and course our family heirlooms. The money is substantial and if course we feel cheated from what was in the will they had made together previously, again though it is the family home which my uncle said was to be shared by his side of the family as a holiday home and grannies possessions which are remembered fondly. Kind regards
Posted by Sarah Pennells dated 2013-08-17 07:02:40
Hi Meg, Thanks for adding the rest of the question. I'm really sorry to hear about what's happened. It sounds very upsetting. I'm not actually sure whether you will be able to do anything now. There are time limits for challenging a will and as both your aunt and her brother have died, I don't know whether you would be able to make a claim. Even if you are within time you would have to be able to show that undue influence (and not just a change of mind) occurred. I would suggest you contact a solicitor or submit a question via the 'ask the expert' panel, to Nicola Plant who is the wills and trusts expert. We can't guarantee that all questions will be answered but we try and answer as many as possible.
Posted by Meg dated 2013-08-18 09:11:48
Thank you, yes it is really sad and the family only wish we knew what her brother had done before now so at least we could have questioned him about his actions.I thought it would be improbable to do anything about it now but felt it was worth asking the question otherwise I would always be questioning whether something could still be be done now that the will has come to light. Thank you for taking the time to read and answer my query it is much appreciated. Kind Regards
Posted by Curious dated 2013-08-21 20:59:24
My mother and her sister had a friend from childhood who has just been declared mentally incompetent. The friend made a will in 1960 leaving some of her money to a cousin and most to my mother and my aunt. Now the cousin is trying to re-write the will in her own family's favor before the old lady has died. Can she do this?
Posted by Sarah Pennells dated 2013-08-25 09:08:48
Hi Curious, Thank you for your question and sorry for the delay in replying. From what you have told me I would be very surprised if the cousin of your mother's childhood friend was able to get her will rewritten. It is very clear in law that the person for whom the will is being drawn up (called the 'testator') must have mental capacity, otherwise the will is invalid. Solicitors are aware of this - or should be.
Posted by Judith dated 2013-08-27 07:28:26
If a wife has been advised she can contest her deceased husbands will, by her solicitor, aNd the whole process of handing granting everything to my dad(as indicated in the will) has been frozen due on her saying she contest. Is here a On my way! In which she must start the process, basically it has been over 6 months since she stated she was contesting and we have heard nothing since.
Posted by Judith dated 2013-08-27 07:34:48
If a wife has been advised she can contest her deceased husbands will, by her solicitor, and the whole process of granting everything to my dad(as indicated in the will) has been frozen due to her saying she will contest. Is there a timeframe In which she must start the process, basically it has been over 6 months since she stated she was contesting and we have heard nothing since.
Posted by Sarah Pennells dated 2013-08-28 08:08:22
Hi Judith, Thanks for your question. The honest answer is that I don't know. I will see if I can find out from Nicola Plant, the wills and trusts expert, and leave an update here.
Posted by Andy dated 2013-09-01 10:40:41
My nans will states that her estate is to be spilt 50/50 between my father and uncle. My father is terminally ill if he should die before my nan would my uncle get 100% or would my dads 50% pass to me and my sister?
Posted by Sarah Pennells dated 2013-09-02 06:22:45
Hi Andy, Thanks for your question. The answer would depend on how the will was written. Normally it would say what should happen if one person who's due to inherit dies. I know of situations where the other person (in this case, your uncle) would inherit the whole amount and others where the will specifies someone else entirely. Sorry not to have a definite answer.
Posted by Sue Crole dated 2013-09-05 13:02:06
I'm dying of cancer,have a 20 yr old son who I think can provide better than the girls father. For their schooling and well being n individual needs,I also have a 15 yr old who's great with her sisters. What's our legal rights to make sure the girls get what they need n my son n daughter want for them. Their dads not nasty, his just not ever been interested in their education, my son n daughter are. What do I do.
Posted by Sarah Pennells dated 2013-09-10 08:37:04
Hi Sue, I was really sorry to read your comment and to find out you are dying of cancer. I can't imagine what that must be like to go through. Apologies for the delay in replying to you - I did upload a comment but it didn't seem to 'stick'. I'm not a family law or wills and trusts solicitor so I would suggest that you talk about this with a solicitor (if you have one) or submit a question free of charge to Nicola Plant, SavvyWoman's wills and trusts expert. It's free to do if you sign up for email newsletters. I hope that helps.
Posted by Katee dated 2013-09-13 19:21:31
My mum died a number of years ago and her second husband has just passed away Are we entitled to anything
Posted by Sarah Pennells dated 2013-09-14 06:22:38
Hi Katee, Thanks for your question. The straightforward answer will depend on what is in your stepfather's will and whether or not he had one. You should be able to see a copy of the will if you are named in it (ie are going to inherit) and after probate has been granted, which means after the legalaties have been sorted out.
Posted by Bubba dated 2013-09-14 13:16:52
Our Uncle has died and left his house to my brother. My Uncles sister in Law wants to contest the will even though probate has been granted on the grounds that a previous will left the house to her. Does she have a claim against the will?
Posted by Sarah Pennells dated 2013-09-15 08:45:49
Hi Bubba, Thanks for your question. In general terms, as I outlined in the article, a will can only be challenged in certain circumstances, such as if the person who drew it up wasn't of sound mind, had been put under undue pressure or if he or she didn't provide for someone who should have been provided for (when a challenge to the will would be made under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act. This Act isn't a 'blank cheque' for relatives to make a claim and there are strict time limits involved as well. Without knowing a lot more, it's hard to say but I would say a challenge to the will would be by no means easy.
Posted by Clownfish dated 2013-09-16 09:45:31
Hi Sarah, Can you help? My Dad died suddenly of a heart attack 12 weeks ago whilst on holiday age 56. He and my mum are divorced and there is my sister and myself as children. age 30 and 32. He was living with his partner in our family home for the last 17 years, we often discussed what would happen if he died and he said he would want me to make sure his partner had a house to live in and an income which is understandable. His estate is approx 1.6million and he always said he didn't want it to end up with her son so set things up in trust. She now has turned around and says she want 500k lump sum from the estate?? That would leave me and my sister with about 275k after tax bill etc... this is not about the money so much but trying to carry out my fathers wishes. I offered to buy her a house in trust in his grandchildren name upto 250k and pay her 25k a year, is this unreasonable and if went to court would she actually get 500k?? Her solicitor first asked for 750k! thanks in advanced
Posted by clownfish dated 2013-09-16 09:53:03
cont... oh there is a will that leaves everything to his two children Me and My sister. I guess I jsut need to know is she being totally greedy or is that a value thats reasonable if it went to a court of law? Or woudl my offer to leave her in the house where she and my dad lived and giver her a 25k a year income be acceptable? Like my dad asked me to do and she admitteed he said to her as well, its only since she visited family and solicitors she has doen a U-Turn and now want cash lump sum. thanks again for any advice.
Posted by John Davie dated 2013-09-17 06:49:46
I am Power of Attorney for my sister. My sister and her husband were left beneficies of a will. Her husband died leaving it all to her. The Testator has since died and another will only days before death has emerged leaving half to my sister and half to someone else. Can I challenge this Will. The relationship of my sister to Testator is my sisters husbands mum married a man who was the brother of the Testator.
Posted by Sarah Pennells dated 2013-09-17 08:58:46
Hi Clownfish, Thanks for your question and sorry for not responding yesterday. I'm sorry to hear about the sudden death of your father and about the dispute that seems to be arising from it. I'm really sorry but I wouldn't be able to give you advice about how much your dad's partner might be entitled to. I think this is something you should take advice about from a solicitor who specialises in contentious probate. Do bear in mind that under current law, partners who aren't married don't have any absolute rights to inherit when their partner dies so it would be up to your dad's partner to show what she is entitled to. The amount she is asking for now could be an opening negotiating position, but, as I said, I'm not a solicitor and do think it would be worth your while taking advice, especially because of the amounts involved.
Posted by Sarah Pennells dated 2013-09-17 09:05:35
Hi John, Thanks for your question. If you want to challenge the will on your sister's behalf, you would have to show that the testator had been put under undue pressure to draw up a new will or that he/she was was not of sound mind when the will was written. From what you've told me (and I'm not a solicitor, so this is just general guidance), the relationship between your sister and the person who left her money was rather a distant one. People do change their wills all the time (or draw up new ones) and often it's because they have grown close to someone since drawing up the earlier will. You may be able to challenge the will, but I'm afraid I can't help you further about your chances of success.
Posted by Kerry James dated 2013-09-19 09:15:38
My Mother has died recently and left her home which we lived in together and a lump sum to me as her only child. She has also left a lump sum to her partner of 10 years. He now wants a share of the house as well. I do not want him living in the house and have asked him to leave which he does not want to do. He is making no financial contribution to the home and I cannot afford to provide for him. He does have his own job. He says that he will contest the will to secure a share of the house which was owned by my mother. Is he able to do this?
Posted by Sarah Pennells dated 2013-09-20 08:48:46
Hi Kerry, I'm sorry to hear about the death of your mother - that must be very hard. From what you've told me, and assuming your mother's partner had lived with her for two years before her death, I think your mother's partner may be able to contest the will, but it doesn't necessarily mean he'd succeed. I would suggest that you talk to a solicitor who specialises in wills and contentious probate (ie disputes about wills). Many solicitors will give you an initial consultation free of charge or at a nominal charge. The answer I've given you here is general guidance and, as I've said to others who've left comments, I'm not a solicitor so can't give you detailed advice. I hope this is helpful, though and thanks for your question.
Posted by donna dated 2013-09-21 14:23:52
hi my dad died 2yrs ago suddenly from cancer, he married 3 months before he died, he would never of got married again, he left the house to my brother but my brother had to pay the amount outstanding on the mortgage but his new wife must live there rent and bill free till she passes and my brother is paying rent and bills for another house where he lives with his partner and family even though my step mum has her own property and rents it out, my cousin and my brother and my step mum went to the solicitors to make the will, my sister and i was not told they were going and did not know about the will until a few months after my dad passed away,my sister and i have always been close to my dad but we were completely cut out of the will and this is not like my dad, i feel he was mislead from my step mum and my cousin as he is very close to my step mum, i feel my brother who is a lot younger than my sister and me was pressured into agreeing because he did not want to upset my dad, do we h
Posted by Sarah Pennells dated 2013-09-23 08:45:39
Hi Donna, Thanks for your question and I'm sorry to hear about the death of your dad. I'm afraid I can only really repeat what's in the article and say that you may be able to challenge the will, but you would either have to show that your dad wasn't of sound mind or had been put under undue pressure when he drew up a new will or you'd have to make a claim under the Family (Inheritances) Act and demonstrate that you should have been provided for in the will and/or that your brother shouldn't have to pay the mortgage costs etc. It's something I'd suggest you speak to a solicitor about. She or he would be able to give you an idea of whether you might succeed.
Posted by karen dated 2013-10-01 12:48:33
I have not spoken with my late father who died earlier this year for 15 years. In his first will everything was left to me. He changed this will a year before he died and left everything to my step brother, who I never had a relationship with. He has also left the house to him too, but my dads wife can live their until she dies. Dad was 86 and wife is 83. I have placed a caveat on probate, estate is worth around £200,000. I am expecting a response from this ion the next few days. What would my chances be for contesting this will in this way. And am I looking at a large legal bill? I have not been financially dependant on him for years, as I am 64 years of age.
Posted by penny dated 2013-10-02 12:27:06
My uncle met this care giver while he was sick at his place.the care giver got involve with uncle.in 2-3 monthy they went to sign for marriage.we as family we think this lady(care giver) took advantage of the situation.knowing that if my uncle dies,she inherit everything.my uncle passed on yesterday 01.10.2013.how do we challenge her?
Posted by Sarah Pennells dated 2013-10-03 06:42:05
Hi Karen, Thank you for your comment and question. If you haven't talked to your father for 15 years it could simply be that he changed his mind - something that he is entitled to do. The law says that someone can leave money to who they like (although there are some situations where it can be challenged - obviously). As I've said in the answer to other, similar questions, I'm not a solicitor so I can't advise/guide as to the chances of success and certainly can't give any advice about the potential size of legal bills. You say you are not dependent on your late father financially, which could make it harder to challenge the will. I would talk to a solicitor who specialises in this area to get advice about your chances of success. It's a different matter if you think your late father was put under pressure or of unsound mind.
Posted by Sarah Pennells dated 2013-10-03 06:46:12
Hi Penny, Thanks for your question and I'm very sorry to hear about the death of your father. The first thing is to try and find out if there is an existing will and if your father has left his money and property to the care giver. I would talk to a solicitor who specailises in wills and contentious probate (as this area is called), and find out what they think you should do next and how you want to challenge the will. If he has died without a will, his new wife would inherit up to a certain limit. In that case, you might have to consider a different approach. I hope that his helpful.
Posted by thereza dated 2013-10-04 07:29:43
My mother has made a will in my sisters name and has left me and my brother out of everything. Can I challenge the will
Posted by Heart broken dated 2013-10-04 13:07:59
My dad passed away earlier this year ,ten days before he died he married his girlfriend of just over five years .heleft her in total £70000 and six months stay in his home will utility bills paid for .she is now contesting the will but we know my father had always made it clear that what was his was his and whomever he met would have to bring something to the table .she had lied to him and we believe she is in the uk as a visa overstay from the USA .she is contesting the will refusing to leave the house any being very difficult she is claiming she needs about 37000 a year to live on .my father we are sure made it clear he was not going to be responsible for her upkeep after he died and was honest about not having long to live .will the law still base her claim on the cost of living here or can we push for them to consider deporting her on the grounds that she would still not have enough to support herself in the uk if she got half of our fathers estate .
Posted by Heart broken dated 2013-10-04 13:15:07
Also our mother died intestate a year before he met this woman .the family house and mothers assets went to our father ,we used her inheritance tax threshold which was about £300000 towards our late fathers estate ,can we put a ring ? Around the property or reduce our fathers estate by that amount to protect our family legacy as our father had always kept it in his will tthat we would have the property ? Sorry for all the rambling it's a living nightmare
Posted by Sarah Pennells dated 2013-10-05 07:41:36
Hi Thereza, Thanks for your comment and question. I"m afraid I won't be able to give you a very helpful answer - just to repeat what I've said to others who have asked similar questions. It is certainly possible that you could challenge the will but you would have to show that your mother was of unsound mind, put under pressure or you would have to challenge the will under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act. Talk to a solicitor who has experience in challenging wills (not all do) as it really is down to individual facts as to whether or not you're likely to succeed.
Posted by Sarah Pennells dated 2013-10-05 07:47:06
Hi Heart Broken Thanks for your question and I'm sorry to hear about the death of your father, and the stressful situation that's resulting from it. I"m afraid that your questions are way beyond my knowledge or expertise and are quite detailed. If your mother didn't use her inheritance tax allowance (because she left her money and assets to your father), your father's executors can use it to reduce the inheritance tax your father's estate will pay. I've written an article that explains this, which you may find useful. You can copy and paste the link to read it: http://www.savvywoman.co.uk/c4-pages/c4s5.php?art_id=254
Posted by Mick dated 2013-10-06 21:29:57
my father died recently leaving everything to my sister. He and my mother had a very unhappy marriage with longstanding issues.He became ill due to stress as mother was disabled on advise of social worker she went into care for a short while for which she blamed brother and I after which she came home and they separated but remained in the family home. As she had been trying to get him to leave he made a will leaving everything in equal shares to me and siblings. Mother no longer spoke to me or brother or wanted us back in house. At this point sister began visiting more although she to had over the years fell out with parents and then reconciled. Mother died 2yrs ago father recently. Now been told all of estate left to sister as brother and I did not visit. New will made 4 yrs ago when mother was stillangry and father on medication for depression & anxiety father always manipulated by mother. Sister now says they reconciled but did not tell us prior to this father always said he want
Posted by Sarah Pennells dated 2013-10-07 07:18:27
Hi Mick, Thanks for your comment and I'm sorry to hear about the difficult situation you find yourself in. I'm afraid the end of the comment was cut off as there is a word limit on the comments box. Could you add a second part to your comment so I can try and respond to your question? Many thanks.
Posted by Mick dated 2013-10-07 15:45:52
Sorry didnt realise. Parents appear to have reconciled sister says it was not her place to let us know although she had on mamy occasions also had fall outs. Father always said it was his intention that there should be a three way equal split.
Posted by Sarah Pennells dated 2013-10-08 05:18:18
Hi Mick, Thanks for adding the additional information. As with the other questions/comments, I can't give you a definitive answer. I would advise you to contact a solicitor who specialises in wills and disagreements about them (contentious probate). He or she will look at a range of factors, including any evidence that your father may have been put under pressure to make the new will. People do change their wills and - as you'll have seen from this column of comments - leave out one or more children. Sometimes this can be challenged in law successfully and at other times the will is deemed valid. I'm sorry not to have a more helpful answer. I will try and write another article on this subject to add some more detail about when you can challenge.
Posted by Mick dated 2013-10-08 08:19:48
Thank you for that
Posted by BOO dated 2013-10-10 21:59:59
I am the only survived daughter of my father who died in the year 2012 at the age of 78 but he willed all his properties to 5 charities and left nothing for me. i have challenged the will already.The will was witnessed by three employers of one of the banks he was using when alive Is there any chance that this can be overturned.Please advice me.
Posted by Sarah Pennells dated 2013-10-11 16:01:38
Hi Boo, Thanks for your question and I'm sorry to hear about the death of your father. I'm afraid I will have to give you the same answer that I have given many people who have left comments, which is to say that I would have to know a lot more about your situation (and be a solicitor) to be able to give advice about specific circumstances. You say you've already tried to challenge the will and I assume you did this with a solicitor. I would either go back to them and ask if there are any other options for challenging the will or ask another solicitor for a second opinion.
Posted by sheilamac dated 2013-10-21 08:05:53
my father passed away, my sister has told me he has left her the house , i am a benificairy in the will , my sister will not provide a copy of the will , she is now starting to redecorate the house nad has removed all his belongings , do i have a right to see the will , there is only my self and my sister would i have a legal right to claim half of the property
Posted by sheilamac dated 2013-10-21 08:08:24
my father passed away, my sister has told me he has left her the house , i am a benificairy in the will , my sister will not provide a copy of the will , she is now starting to redecorate the house and has removed all his belongings , do i have a right to see the will , there is only my self and my sister would i have a legal right to claim half of the property forgot to mention scottish law
Posted by Sandi dated 2013-10-21 14:06:22
I am 63 and married with no siblings. Recently I came across a copy of my Mother's will (she is 89 and still alive) and was horrified by the Codicil she has recently added to it. She has stipulated that any monies not allocated to various far flung relatives and charities, are to be kept in Trust for me until such time as I divorce my husband, or he dies. Obviously, she does not favour my Husband, but I am deeply distressed to see this in black and white, and the fact that she has made no provision for the fact that, at some point, I might be in need of funds while I am still with my Husband. I have always been a dutiful daughter and she has always referred to us as being "close". People advise me to contest the Will when the time comes, but do I have grounds to do so? Your advice would be much appreciated.
Posted by Sarah Pennells dated 2013-10-23 05:41:10
Hi Sheilamac, Thanks for your question and sorry for the delay in replying. I'm not an expert in Scots law but I'll try and find an answer for you. I know in English law you don't have the right to see the will if you're a beneficiary, although you can ask the executors and - if they won't show you - ask them why not. You should be able to see a copy of the will once probate has been obtained, as all wills become public documents. However, you may wish to do so sooner. I'll update this if I find out anything different.
Posted by Sarah Pennells dated 2013-10-23 05:46:45
Hi Sandi, Thanks for your question and I'm sorry to hear about your mother's will. I'm afraid your question is rather too specific for me to answer via the comments section. I'd suggest that you either have a preliminary meeting with a solicitor who specialises in wills and trusts or submit an 'ask the expert' question to SavvyWoman's wills and trusts expert, Nicola Plant. We don't guarantee to answer all questions, but she may be able to help.
Posted by Sarah Hants dated 2014-05-12 14:42:35
My dad passed away in November 2013. I have a sister and 3 step siblings. Up untill my dad remarried some 20 odd years ago I was in his will. Then when he married I was removed. Then when his wife died in 2006 I was put back in the will. The problem I have is the step siblings and my sister are all receiving a quarter of my step mothers estate and then I receive a fifth of my dads estate. Amounts not known yet as property being sold. Do I have the grounds to contest the will as was previously in it, then removed, then re added. Seems very unfair that the step siblings get alot more especially when I was my dads care giver over the last 3 years of his life. Also my dad did say that he had made sure that it would all be equall, which I have now discovered is not the case
Posted by devastated dated 2014-05-14 14:29:36
My mother is on her death bed and I have just found out that she has signed her house over to my brother. Unfortunately my mother suffered a stoke 2 years ago and has not had her full capabilities to make decisions like that. I feel that my mother has been manipulated into doing this and want to know if there is anything I can do to stop this.
Posted by Sarah Pennells dated 2014-05-18 20:10:59
Hi Sarah,
Thanks for your question. I'm sorry to hear about your dad's death. I would suggest that you talk to a solicitor who specialises in challenging wills (called 'contentious probate'). The grounds on which you can challenge a will are quite limited, especially if the children are grown up. Your father would be within his rights to leave money to whoever he wanted to (pretty much) - it may not be fair but that doesn't make it illegal. Having said that, a solicitor who knows all the details of your circumstances may be able to advise you if there are any grounds you can use to challenge the will. Find out how much an initial meeting would cost.
Posted by Sarah Pennells dated 2014-05-18 20:19:22
Hi Devastated
, Thanks for your question. I was sorry to read your comments. Anyone making a decision on behalf of someone who lacks 'mental capacity' (ie the ability to make decisions), must act in their best interests. I'd suggest that your first port of call should be to contact a charity called 'Action on Elder Abuse'. They know this area of law inside out and may be able to suggest next steps for you. Their contact details are here: http://www.elderabuse.org.uk/
Posted by Jessica dated 2014-06-06 12:26:31
My husband's Will comments on the fact that I'm not good with money, and directs the executors to setup an Annuity with some of the funds that I inherit. They cannot do that without me signing the documents, so we are at a standstill as I do not want the Annuity and the Executors say they must respect the wishes of the deceased. What needs to happen next? How do I get things to move forward and get my money?
Posted by Sarah Pennells dated 2014-06-07 09:17:49
Hi Jessica,
Thanks for your question. I'm afraid it's a bit too specific for me to answer as we can only give general guidance. I don't know whether you have a solicitor who deals with wills and probate, but I would suggest you contact one. I'm sorry not to be more helpful.
Posted by Patricia Hall dated 2014-06-15 22:13:07
Hello, I am married to a man that has 2 adult children and 1 teenager and I would like to know if he was to leave everything to me could his children contest to the will.
Posted by Caren dated 2014-06-17 16:39:05
My partner of 26 years, died and left a property (along with some debts) to me. We both had our own house and chose not to always live together. We made mirrored will and I have not as yet changed mine. Basically leaving everything to each other and whichever one of us died last then all to be divided between 4 grandchildren. All done and signed by solicitors. His two successfull adult children have put caveats in place how long can caveats continue to be renewed. My partners house is now in a state of disrepair I am also executor.
Posted by Sarah Pennells dated 2014-06-21 09:25:18
Hi Patricia,
Thanks for your question. If your husband were to die while his children were finnacially dependent on him (for example if they were still in education etc), they could certainly challenge the will. Even if they were older they might be able to challenge the will if he had given them money - especially on a regular basis. It's hard to be definite about this, but it is possible. If they were financially secure when he died it would be harder for them to make a case, especially if he hadn't regularly supported them financially.
Posted by twiglet dated 2014-06-21 12:49:04
Hi my father has written a will, and according to him he said that in the will, the house and any other monies that is over would be between myself and my sister, the thing is he has a partner that has been living with him for 6 yrs. She said that she is going to sell her house, and if and when that my father passes away before her? Would she be entitled to a share in my fathers house.,
Posted by jrxm dated 2014-06-21 20:18:27
my father in law recently died; his 'friend' we believe has over a period of years put pressure on him to leave his estate entirely to her despite for years saying (to many people) the house would go to the daughters. We know she has consistently bad mouthed and lied to neighbours about the daughters. Would we have a case to challenge the will?
Posted by Sarah Pennells dated 2014-06-22 15:09:46
Hi Caren,
Thanks for your question and I'm sorry to hear about the situation following the death of your partner. In answer to your question, a caveat lasts for six months. I hope that's helpful.
Posted by Sarah Pennells dated 2014-06-23 13:39:00
Hi Jrxm,
Thanks for your question. I'm sorry to hear that you feel someone has put pressure on your father to leave his house and property to them. You may be able to challenge the will, but you would have to show that your father had been put under duress and/or didn't know what he was signing up for. I would suggest that you talk to a solicitor who specialises in challenging wills (it's called 'contentious probate') to find out what your options are. The difficulty may be in showing that your father was put under duress - even if you have a strong belief that was the case.
Posted by Tired niece 29 dated 2014-06-24 02:27:04
Hi my uncle passed away last year 29 June. He had no children just 2 brothers my dad and another uncle. My cousin is currently living in the she was there up until my uncle died. My dad lives in America along with my other uncle. My cousin has the death certificate along with all the other documents. My dad wants to give his brothers house to myself and my husband is this possible. Does my cousin have the right to stay there?
Posted by Claire Voutsinas dated 2014-06-28 08:31:17
My father died years ago and left his estate to his sister.I managed to get 20.000 through negation .my brother received nothing .We have every reason to believe the estate was substantial .Is it too late to contest my Fathers will.
Posted by Sarah Pennells dated 2014-06-29 08:21:31
Hi Tired Niece,
Thanks for your question. I think some of the detail may have been missing from your question, but if your uncle died with no will and had no children (or grandchildren) and no parents who are alive, his possessions and property will pass to his brothers. If they weren't alive what he owned would pass to the children of his brothers. What he has will be passed equally to his brothers. My understanding is that if your father wants to give the property to you and your husband, he could only do this if your uncle agreed as he is entitled to half of it. Your cousin doesn't really come into it as your uncle had brothers who were still alive at the time of his death. As with all the information on this site, this is general guidance only and I'd suggest you talk to a solicitor (or that your father does) to explore this in more detail.
Posted by Sarah Pennells dated 2014-06-29 09:27:16
Hi Clare,
Thanks for your question. There are normally strict time limits by which you can challenge the will using the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act. I believe that you may be able to challenge it if you believe duress was used or if he was not of sound mind at the time. However, demonstrating this took place can be difficult. If you believe there is a substantial sum of money at stake, I would talk to a solicitor who specialises in contentious probate (disputes about wills), but if you decide to challenge the will I have to warn you that it can be costly and time consuming - assuming that you have the legal right to challenge it at all.
Posted by Grahamh138 dated 2014-07-11 00:52:25
Hi. My fathers second wife does two years ago. They had a mutual will. The will is split three ways between myself and my brother and one step sister. Since my step mother passed away we have found that she was embezzling money from my dad and she was a fraudster. Her family were involved. They have had a lot of money over the years. My dad wants to cut the step daughter out of the will and only wished for his natural sons to receive his estate. We know he can gift cash each year but he wants to sign his mobile home over to his sons so it's not in he will. How can he do this?
Posted by Sarah Pennells dated 2014-07-13 07:45:14
Hi Grahamh138,
Thanks for your question. I'm sorry to hear about what you've found out since your step mother died. That must be very upsetting for all of you. Your father is free to make another will. I'm assuming by 'mutual' wills you mean 'mirror' wills - where, one the husband, wife or civil partner dies, money goes from them to the remaining spouse or civil partner, and when he or she dies it passes to - usually - the children? Your father could make a new will and, if he is worried that it will be challenged, could follow the tips in this article - 10 ways to make sure your will isn't challenged http://www.savvywoman.co.uk/c6-pages/c6s6.php?art_id=1098 . It would be useful for him to record why he is changing it. One other deterrent I've been told about is for the person who's written the will to leave a small amount to the person they don't want to include in the will, but to say that they will not receive this if they challenge the will. This information is for guidance onl
Posted by Tracey dated 2014-07-21 09:35:49
My mums brother died of a brain tumour several years back. My parents nursed him at home so he did not have to die in a hospice. He wrote out a will leaving everything to my mother, but his wife tore it up. Shortly after he died my parents sold a car he left them as they had no where to keep it. The aunt totally turned on them and asked them not to come around anymore. At that time my cousin and his girlfriend moved in with her. Since he was there she had no further need of my parents. Anyway to try and shorten this, she died a couple of weeks ago and my parents get the impression that someone who used to work for them is in charge of her estate. They could not get an answer from this woman as to what is going on with my uncles estate. My cousin appears to have come into some money though. She did apparently leave a will, infact there were two, my parents were named in the first but towards the end she obviously wrote them out. We assume that as she inherited her husbands estate that t
Posted by Joyce dated 2014-07-21 19:08:48
My father died without getting his will signed. He had remarried several years ago and we haven't had anything to do with his wife. He said he was leaving a amount of money to his 4 grandchildren so would we be contacted by a solicitor if she was going to honour his wishes because we haven't heard anything and we know probate was granted in May. Is there anyway we can find out what was wrote in the will
Posted by Sarah Pennells dated 2014-07-22 13:05:51
Hi Joyce,
Thanks for your question. Once probate has been granted, anyone can see a copy of the will. The Gov.uk website has information on how to get hold of a copy of a will. Here's a link to it which you can copy and paste in your browser bar: https://www.gov.uk/wills-probate-inheritance/searching-for-probate-records
Posted by Sarah Pennells dated 2014-07-22 15:00:14
Hi Tracey,
Thanks for your question and apologies for the fact that the word count in the comments box meant the question was cut off. I think I can gather enough from your question. I would suggest that you make an appointment with a solicitor who specialises in contentious probate (disputes over wills). If you want to challenge the will, it can be a very costly process - both financially and emotionally. The more evidence you have about your uncle's intentions, the better.
Posted by Joyce dated 2014-07-22 20:11:15
Hi thanks for your reply and link. I'm just checking with you that I can see a copy of my fathers will even though it wasn't signed ?
Posted by Penny dated 2014-07-22 21:11:22
My late husbands will was read few months back. He left mentioned and gave all but one of his landed property to his children and left the last landed property off the will.His first wife is divorced and the second wife is late.I have been his only wife for over twenty years now. What are my chances of contesting his will
Posted by looptotheloo dated 2014-07-25 21:46:39
Jeez I hate money and the trouble it causes! Can you help please... my father in law died last year...10 yrs prior to this after my husband's mum died his dad took him down to the bank and put his name on the account and said that whatever was in it was his when he passed away...unfortunately no will was left and it doesn't look like anyone else (fil others children by a diff mum) were informed and now we are being threatened with solicitors arrrrghhh what to do!!!??? Help please :/
Posted by Sarah Pennells dated 2014-07-27 10:00:55
Hi Joyce,
Thanks for the reply to mine... Sorry, I gave you some duff information in the last answer (or didn't explain it clearly). If the will wasn't signed, it won't be valid. That means it won't be taken into account and so you wouldn't be able to see a copy of it by going to the Probate Registry. You may be able to ask to see it but I'm afraid I don't know enough about this area of law to know if there is a way you can demand to see it. Sorry not to be more help.
Posted by Sarah Pennells dated 2014-07-27 10:05:26
Hi Penny,
Thanks for your question. As I've said on all the answers, I'm not a legal expert, but as the widow, you could challenge the will if little or no provision has been made for you. You can do this under the Inheritance - 'Provision for Family and Dependants' Act. Challenging a will is rarely easy. It can be financially and emotionally costly.
Posted by Sarah Pennells dated 2014-07-27 10:31:46
Hi Looptotheloo,
Thanks for your question (and comment, which I agree with!). Normally, any money in a joint account passes to the other person named on the account, whether or not there is a will and no matter what is in the will. However, it can be challenged, especially if the other person's name was added for convenience (see this legal firm's blog http://www.hughjames.com/news/firm-news/2012/06/joint_ownershipsurvivorship/#.U9TTuKhRbok ). It's also the case, sadly, that sometimes people will tell one relative what they plan to do with their money, but not tell anyone else. It would help if there was any evidence that he intended that the money passed to your husband, but that may not be available...
Posted by Looptotheloo dated 2014-07-27 23:59:22
Thanks for the reply Sarah as we so cannot afford legal advice! No no proof of course but He was not put on for convenience as my husband wasn't responsible for paying any of his dads outgoings...blimey WE are so going to write a will NOW to stop our children having to deal with this! So I am just about to reply to my husbands siblings messages threatening the legal route any suggestions of what I should/shouldn't say? Also can they actually take us to court over this and is it going to cost us? By the way we are not money grabbing people in fact we were marched down the bank by these people to try to have their names added to the account the day before their dads funeral :o thanks in advance for your much needed advice :)

The material provided on this website is general information that is intended for general guidance and is not suitable for professional advice.
You should always obtain independent financial advice.