How Can I Prove a Will Was Made under Duress?
To prove a Will was made under duress, also known as undue influence, you’ll need strong supporting evidence to contest the Will in England or Wales.
Contesting a Will can get complicated, and it can feel especially daunting when you’re already dealing with the emotions of losing a loved one.
Our Contentious Probate Solicitors can handle all of the complex paperwork for you, so you don’t have another thing to worry about. We’ll tell you whether you’ve got strong grounds for challenging the Will, and help you put together the strongest possible case to prove the Will was made under duress.
Get in touch with our Contentious Probate Solicitors today.
What Does it Mean when a Will is Made Under Duress?
If a Will is made under duress, it means that the person who made the Will (known as the testator) was coerced or heavily persuaded by someone into writing or amending a Will in a way that benefits them.
For example, they might convince the testator to leave a larger share of their Estate to them, or to include them in the Will when they weren’t originally planning to.
Undue influence can be difficult to prove because it usually happens in private, and by a close family member in a position of trust.
You might think a Will was made under duress if:
- There are last minute or unusual changes – if the Will was amended last minute and now includes decisions that go against your loved one’s previous wishes or feel out of character, then this might be a red flag
- Someone who wasn’t included in the original Will is now benefitting from the new one
- Someone who was included in the original Will is now set to inherit a larger share of the Estate in the new Will
- The Testator was elderly, ill or vulnerable to persuasion at the time of making their Will
If you’re worried that any of these things happened to your loved one when they were making their Will, we know that you’re probably feeling upset and frustrated.
A Will gives someone the chance to have their final say, knowing that their family and friends will be taken care of exactly how they’d like. So it’s understandable that you want to set things right if you think your loved one’s wishes have been disrespected in this way.
Help from a Contentious Probate Solicitor
As undue influence can be challenging to prove, it’s useful to get legal expertise on your side. Our Contentious Probate Solicitors have over 20 years’ experience in helping people contest Wills on the basis of undue influence.
We’ll help prove your case by:
- Investigating the circumstances around the making or amending of the Will e.g. evidence from those who witnessed the signing
- Collecting statements from those who knew the person who died, about their mental and physical wellbeing at the time of making or amending their Will, and about any wishes they expressed before they died
- Accessing the medical records of the person who died for evidence of any mental or physical decline that could have made them vulnerable to persuasion
We’re happy to handle all the complex paperwork on your behalf, and we’ll always keep you informed every step of the way to advise you on your best course of action.
Is there a Time Limit?
There’s usually a strict time in place for contesting a Will, so it’s best to get legal advice as soon as possible to see if you’ve got a valid claim. It’s also much easier to contest a Will before the Estate administration is completed.
Don’t hesitate to get in touch with our Contentious Probate Solicitors today to talk through your options.
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