Challenging the validity of a will
Whether a will is valid or not
If you feel there is something not quite right with the will set out by a loved one, it can make a hard time even worse. The requirements for a valid will are set down in the law, it is up to the person relying on the will to prove that it is indeed valid.
When can you challenge the validity of a will?
For a valid will to exist, the person for whom it applies must intend to make it, and the will must be executed properly.
A will may be deemed as not properly executed or invalid for any of the following reasons:
- Lack of capacity – They lacked mental capacity at the time they made it, and were unable to make the decision for themselves
- The person making the will didn't know or approve the contents of the will – this is sometimes seen in 'mirror wills', and where someone benefitting from the will plays a big part in making it
- Undue influence – The person was pressured into making the will in some way
- The will was forged, or the person was misled into making it
- A will that has been revoked will not be valid - a will can be revoked by making a new will that says it revokes the old one, by destroying the old one or by getting married
- A will is not valid if any of the signatures are missing
If a will is declared invalid by the court, it will be thrown out completely. After this one of two things will happen:
- An earlier, valid will can be used
- The laws of intestacy will apply if there is no valid will – the rules of intestacy can also be challenged in certain circumstances
Because of the several directions an invalid will can lead you, it is important to seek legal advice.
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