1. Lack of testamentary capacity
This means that the person did not have the mental capacity to make a Will. Anyone making a Will must not be suffering from any mental illness that affects their ability to make decisions, they must understand they are making a Will, be aware of the value of their estate and how it will be divided upon their death.
Anyone making a Will must be of sound mind and if there are changes to the Will towards the end of someone’s life when they have begun to lose mental capacity this is grounds for contesting a Will.
2. Lack of Valid Execution
If a Will isn’t drawn up correctly this is called a lack of valid execution. A Will is not valid unless:
- It is in writing
- It is signed by the person making the Will
- There were 2 witnesses present at the signing
- The testator (the person making the Will) signed the Will
It is the responsibility of a solicitor or professional Will writer to ensure the Will is executed correctly. If the Will is not valid, there is a possibility of making a claim for professional negligence.
3. Lack of knowledge and approval
Are there suspicious circumstances e.g. a large gift to a person that helped the testator make their Will? If the person making the Will wasn’t entirely aware of all of the contents this is known as lack of knowledge and approval.
4. Undue influence
Undue influence can be a term you can use in a Will dispute. Undue influence in respect of a Will means when someone has pressurized or coerces the testator to make or change an existing Will. To successfully challenge a Will you will need to show that someone has directly benefited by manipulating the situation. In the case of undue influence you will need to prove that there is no other reasonable explanation for that person to have become a beneficiary.
5. Fraud or Forgery
Fraud or forgery in the case of a Will is rare but if it is proved the Will is invalid. Forgery is where a person fakes a Will in someone’s name and forges their signature whereas fraud is where someone has made the testator cut someone from their will by using false information about another beneficiary.
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