Ideally, before we all pass away we should have a will organised that is meaningful and represents our true desires for distributing assets and valuables to friends and family. Though many wills go smoothly enough, sometimes a will is contested by a beneficiary or by a person who believes that they should receive more as part of the will. In this context, it is important that a will be prepared by an experienced lawyer well in advance of passing away and that it be updated when a person is of sound mind.
Who Can Contest A Will?
Though many wills usually are executed without a problem, sometimes a person chooses to legally contest the will. While the will itself is supposed to represent the true wishes of the deceased, there are certainly times when it can be legally contested, especially where assets and valuables have been left to people outside of the family.
We’ve all heard of the stories where a wealthy person decided to leave a lot of money to a local charity or a friend outside of the immediate family. When assets are left to a beneficiary who is outside of the immediate family, this can cause a legal wrangle to occur. This is when experienced contesting a will lawyers are required.
The following people are able to contest a will under the above circumstances:
- Spouses or life partners of the deceased,
- An ex-spouse,
- Children of the deceased person,
- People who were fully or partially materially dependent on the deceased at the time of their passing.
What about Undue Influence?
Apart from cases where a family member, ex-spouse, or dependent may wish to contest a will, there are also cases where they may feel that the deceased has changed their will under the pressure of external influence. For example, where an older person has been persuaded by another family member or even someone outside of the family to change their will to benefit them, the will is likely to be contested by immediate family members.
Sadly, these cases of undue influence by an external party are all too common. Often, an older person who may not be fully aware or have sufficient mental capacity to consider the ramifications of their actions will be pressured into changing their will so that other family members are cut out entirely. While this is certainly despicable behaviour, it happens all too often, and, in these cases, approaching a reliable family lawyer is the best course of action.
Why Approach A Lawyer?
The best lawyers in this area will be able to provide the requisite level of emotional support without losing their sense of objectivity or rationalism. Given how complex family law can certainly be, it is crucial that a person approach an experienced lawyer and seek the best advice for their situation.
In this context lawyers are critical to the proper functioning of society. They help people to interface with a complex set of laws that have such importance in the way that we live and operate.