Home > Challenging a Will > I Challenged a Will and Won: A Case Study

I Challenged a Will and Won: A Case Study

By: J.A.J Aaronson - Updated: 14 Apr 2010 | comments*Discuss
 
Will Challenging A Will Estate

Challenging a will, either on the grounds that it is invalid or because it does not provide for financial dependents, is a difficult and potentially time consuming task. The decision to challenge a will has the potential to cause significant frictions within a family, and it should never be taken lightly.

Sometimes, though, there is no alternative but to challenge a will. This can be a complicated process, with numerous legal hurdles, and it may therefore help to look at the experiences of others who have challenged a will and won.

This case study concerns Sharon, whose ex husband died suddenly, leaving his estate to his new wife. Although previous spouses sometimes have claims against the will of their ex-husband or wife (you may want to read our article on the circumstances in which you can challenge a will for more information on this), in this case Sharon was acting on behalf of her son (also the son of the deceased man).

“I haven’t remarried, and I have found it difficult to work while looking after my son,” says Sharon. “He is only 11, and he was basically entirely financially dependent on his father.”

Lack of provision

Sadly, when Sharon's husband remarried, he changed his will so that all of his assets would pass to his new wife on his death. Although this is not unusual, it left virtually no provision for the child when his father unexpectedly died. As a result, Sharon decided to challenge the will.

“I spoke to the Citizens Advice Bureau, who told me that I did have a claim against the will. Financial dependents can claim, or have someone claim for them, if they are not provided for.”

Indeed, this is one of very few circumstances in which it is possible to claim against a will, unless your complaint is that the document itself is invalid. Claims of this sort will generally only be accepted if the individual in question remains a minor; it is much more difficult to claim financial dependence if the child is now grown up.

“The Bureau told me to speak to a solicitor, and pointed out that there is a six month time limit for making a claim. Luckily I saw the will very quickly, and was able to meet with a solicitor the next day. They filed a document with the Probate Registry.”

Lodging a caveat

This document is known as a caveat, and it ensures that no grant of probate is made until the case has been properly examined. It can take many months for a case to come before a judge, and there can be financial hardship in the interim. It is likely that no assets will be allowed to be transferred from the estate during this period, so it is important that all parties involved take their own financial precautions.

“Our case was ready to go before a judge within nine months. But in the end it didn’t actually get that far,” Sharon said.

In common with an increasingly large number of individuals in similar circumstances, Sharon actually settled her case by mediation.

“The Court made it clear that we should try to settle the problem on our own, and they put us in touch with the National Mediation Service.”

Mediation

Mediation is a way for disputes to be settled out of court. In this instance the deceased person's second wife agreed to make regular maintenance payments from the estate to a trust that was set up for the child. Although the payments were not as large as Sharon initially wished, the case was settled quickly and without the need for further legal action.

As can be seen, challenging a will is a difficult process. If you think you have a claim against a will, either because you or another individual has not been sufficiently provided for or because the will itself is invalid, you should contact a solicitor in the first instance – and remember to act swiftly in order to beat the time limit.

You might also like...
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice..
Why not be the first to leave a comment for discussion, ask for advice or share your story...

If you'd like to ask a question one of our experts (workload permitting) or a helpful reader hopefully can help you... We also love comments and interesting stories

Title:
(never shown)
Firstname:
(never shown)
Surname:
(never shown)
Email:
(never shown)
Nickname:
(shown)
Comment:
Validate:
Enter word:
Latest Comments
  • Francis
    Re: Money Owed to and by the Deceased
    Afriend of mine lend me money a month ago.He suddenly died a few days ago.Do I still need to pay the money back.Ther was no…
    16 July 2018
  • Nat
    Re: Money Owed to and by the Deceased
    A friend lent me £10,000 we wrote something down ourselves and I signed and dated it. I would pay him monthly. He died…
    12 July 2018
  • VivK
    Re: Will Inheritance Affect My Council Tenancy?
    I have just inherited a bungalow in a different county from where I live and work. Will I be able to sell this…
    13 June 2018
  • InheritanceIssues
    Re: Money Owed to and by the Deceased
    Tutti - Your Question:Hi my friend gave me £20,000 and didn’t want me to pay her back however I insisted I made payments.…
    16 May 2018
  • Tutti
    Re: Money Owed to and by the Deceased
    Hi my friend gave me £20,000 and didn’t want me to pay her back however I insisted I made payments. She made a will and told…
    15 May 2018
  • Loanandinhertitance
    Re: Money Owed to and by the Deceased
    mother and father put a £40000 loan on the house they transferred/sold to brother. This was done formally in writing to be…
    27 March 2018
  • InheritanceIssues
    Re: Money Owed to and by the Deceased
    Alice Yelland - Your Question:My godfather wants to loan me £30,000, at a low interest rate of 1% per annum. He is elderly,…
    20 March 2018
  • Alice Yelland
    Re: Money Owed to and by the Deceased
    My godfather wants to loan me £30,000, at a low interest rate of 1% per annum. He is elderly, so what happens when he dies?…
    18 March 2018
  • Bishop
    Re: Money Owed to and by the Deceased
    I was wondering what would be the best way to find out if someone (individual or company) has taken, claimed or received…
    15 February 2018
  • InheritanceIssues
    Re: Money Owed to and by the Deceased
    RASH - Your Question:I gave my mother nearly £25,000 about 20 years ago to buy a share in her flat. Now she has died how do…
    20 December 2017