A Will is the best possible way to ensure that your assets are distributed precisely to your wishes after you pass away.
Nonetheless, there are a number of different factors which can allow for a Will to be challenged.
The main reason is a ‘lack of testamentary capacity’ – in other words, challenging whether the person was of sound mind when writing the Will. Essentially, in order to pass this test, it should be demonstrated that the person was aware that they were writing a Will, the value of the estate and that they understood the consequences of including or excluding people from the Will.
A Will can also be challenged if there are grounds to believe that it is invalid. A Will can be invalid for all sorts of different reasons, from failing to sign it, failing to ensure it is witnessed and precisely who those witnesses are.
You can also challenge a Will on the basis of a ‘lack of knowledge and approval’, which is where you believe that the person was not completely aware of the contents of the Will. An example here may be if a person who helped to prepare the Will is left a substantial gift.
Along similar lines, a Will can be challenged if you believe it was written under undue pressure or duress, or if you believe it is fraudulent or has been forged.
If a Will does not reflect the actual intentions of the testator (the person whose Will it is) it can be challenged too. This could be because of a clerical error, or because the person preparing the Will failed to understand their wishes.
Lastly, a Will can be challenged by those who are left out of the Will if a “reasonable financial provision” has not been made for them. However, success of a claim is dependent on proving that they could reasonably have expected that their living costs would have been met by the deceased.
It is vital that you get your Will written properly if you want to avoid it being challenged later on. The challenge process can be incredibly upsetting and stressful for your loved ones, so make sure that you turn to Will experts that you can trust to do a professional job.