When is a Will valid?
In order for a Will to be valid it must be in writing, signed by the Will-maker (also known as the testator) in the presence of 2 witnesses and signed by those 2 witnesses after the testator. To make a Will a person must be at least 18 years old (unless in exceptional circumstances), must have the mental capacity to make a Will, must be aware of and in agreement with the contents of the Will and must not be acting under any undue influence.
A solicitor will usually be able to assess whether a person has the mental capacity to make a Will when they meet them, but if they have any doubts a doctor can be instructed to provide advice on the issue of capacity. In order to have the mental capacity to make a Will the testator must:
Understand the nature of a Will and the effects it will have;
· Know the extent of their property;
· Be aware of those to whom they are morally obliged to provide for and the consequences of not providing for them.
What if I want to dispute a Will?
A Will can be disputed if you believe that it is invalid – the following are examples of circumstances where the Will would be invalid:
Where the Will has not been properly signed and witnessed;
· The testator did not have the mental capacity to make a Will at the time it was made;
· The testator was not aware of the contents of the Will or did not approve it;
· The testator was acting under undue influence;
· The Will is fraudulent or a forgery.
If you want to dispute a Will an application can be made to Court. If your claim is successful and the Will is found to be invalid, the Estate will be distributed according to any previous Will or according to the ‘intestacy rules’ if there was no previous Will. In order to stop others from obtaining a Grant of Representation while you are investigating the validity of the Will, you should enter a caveat at the Probate Registry – please see our page on Caveats, Warnings & Appearances for more information on this.
How can we help?
Our solicitors and legal staff can issue proceedings in relation to Will disputes on your behalf and represent you throughout the proceedings.
Oliver Fisher Solicitors can assist and represent you in matters regarding Will disputes. We provide a flexible and helpful approach and can assist you as much or as little as you need.
Please contact our solicitors on 0203 219 0145 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss your matter.