There are two fundamental truths about contesting a will:
- Anyone of interest can contest a will.
- Any will can by contested.
Contesting a Will
Challenging the validity of a will is a legal process and should be guided by qualified legal counsel.
If you have a will that was written by a professional will writer or solicitor / lawyer, chances are very good that your wishes will be carried as you intended.
In other words, your will can withstand challenges.
However, if any one of the following applies, there’s a much higher likelihood your wishes will not be followed if someone contests your will.
- you have written your own will
- your will was written by a non-professional
- you purchased an online will
- you used a will writing kit
It’s not a pleasant thought that people you love and care about may struggle to accept your wishes as set out in your will.
Why would my will be contested?
The common grounds for challenging a will are:
- The validity of the will
- The financial dependence between the person contesting the will and the deceased
With a professionally written document, chances are very good your will is deemed valid and the provisions you’ve made are in line with the various laws.
When can a will be challenged?
There are timeframes for contesting a will, depending on where in the world the will is registered and goes through the probate process.
- In the United Kingdom, the time limits for contesting a will are dependent upon the type of claim. For example, a beneficiary who wishes to make a claim against the estate has 12 years from the date of death to file a claim.
- In Australia, the time limit for contesting a will is 12 months from the date of death (see: http://www.legalanswers.sl.nsw.gov.au/guides/wills_estates/contesting_wills.html)
- In the United States the timeframes vary from state to state. In some situations, a will can be contested even before the testator dies if it is believed another beneficiary has influenced the will. Generally the timeframe for challenging the will is two years from the start of probate (see: http://info.legalzoom.com/long-contest-will-4072.html)
- In Canada, the time limits for contesting a will is 2 years from the date of death (see: http://www.estatelawcanada.ca/limitation-period-cheat-sheet)
Have you reviewed your will recently?
It’s a good idea to periodically review your will. Let us know if you need help with this important task.