When a loved one dies, it can be an emotionally trying time, and when they have a will in place, the hope is that this will enable their affairs to be settled quickly and as stress-free as possible. However, this does not always happen. At times, a family member or person with a financial connection may want to contest the will. In order for a will to be contested, there are specific circumstances that must be shown to be present. Here's an overview of three common reasons wills are contested:

Lack Of Testamentary Capacity

In order to make a will, you must be considered to be of sound mind and have the mental capacity to understand the will-writing process. This is referred to as testamentary capacity. To contest a will on the grounds of lack of testamentary capacity, you need to be able to show that the person who made the will did not have a sound understanding of how their estate would be divided or was not aware of the true value of their assets. If the person who wrote the will had a mental illness that could impair their ability to make decisions, the will can be contested on the ground of lack of testamentary capacity.

Lack Of Valid Execution

There are a set of legal requirements that must be met when drawing up a will, such as having two witnesses present at the time of signing the will, and a will can be contested if it can be proven that the legal requirements were not met. If a solicitor was involved in the drawing up of the will and has failed to ensure all legal requirements were satisfied, it is possible to both contest the will and bring a professional negligence claim against the solicitor.

Undue Influence

If you believe the person who wrote the will did so under coercion from a third party, you can contest the will on the grounds of undue influence. You must be able to prove that at least a share of the deceased's assets was allocated to someone as a result of that person manipulating the person making the will. Manipulation can take a variety of forms, so if you have suspicions about a benefactor, discuss your concerns with a solicitor.

If you feel you have grounds for contesting a will, or if you are concerned about family members' ability to contest a will, make an appointment with a solicitor who deals with wills and probate.

For more information about contested wills, contact a law firm.