Anyone who has been left with more questions than answers after reading a loved one’s will has, whether moments, hours, days or weeks afterwards, wondered whether they are in a position to contest its contents.
There are a fair few reasons why someone could contest a will, and none of them lead to simple or straightforward outcomes. Nevertheless, perhaps the hardest outcome is spending the rest of your life feeling as though something important has been missed, glossed over, or intentionally cast aside by another party.
So, if you’re seriously considering contesting a loved one’s will, here are a few things you need to be aware of before getting started.
There can be a Limited Window of Opportunity
While the exact time limit on contesting a will is not consistent across the board, some cases are limited to six months after the grant of probate. This means that, for anyone wondering whether or not they have grounds for speaking out, contacting experienced contesting a will solicitors sooner rather than later is imperative.
Sometimes, an extension will be granted by the courts – but you must not rely on this being the case, and defer your opportunity under the belief that it will be permitted.
It Can be Expensive
Litigation is expensive, which means that the process of contesting a will can be expensive too. This is not a process you should handle without expert legal help, or without your eyes wide open to the high costs litigation can incur.
This is particularly important to note, as…
The Process Can be Long and Drawn Out
Will disputes can take years to resolve, meaning that committing to the process can also represent a major financial commitment – and a huge tie on your personal life. It’s a lot to think about, and a heavy weight to have sitting on your shoulders, especially when you consider the fact that…
It Can Cause Major Rifts
This is an incredibly delicate area of concern for any family. It is very easy for any beneficiaries who inherited from the testator to feel as though you are taking legal action against them – and, in some cases, you are.
In other words, it’s all too easy for these situations to turn against a person – and for the rifts they cause between otherwise strong relationships to last for years, if not forever.
This is vital for you to consider and reconcile yourself with before moving forward.
It Will Test You
This process is likely to be emotionally draining and stressful. The financial burden, the task of coping with familial disputes, grief, and stress of undertaking such a long and complex process – even when you have expert legal help on your side – can easily feel like too much, and stir up some complex emotions toward your family, and the testator.
That said, righting a wrong and ensuring that the true wishes of your loved one are met is incredibly important. The trials and tribulations caused by contesting a will cannot be overstated but, at the same time, neither can the pain of living with an unanswered question for many, many years to come.