division of estate

Many people believe that it is impossible to dispute the division of an estate, irrespective of whether or not there is a Will. But that’s simply not true.

There are a few common misconceptions around Wills and how estates are divided. Many people believe that, as well as not being able to dispute the division of an estate, that once a Will is written, it is final and nothing can be done to challenge it at a later date. That’s not the case. In this article we break down the myths and highlight what claims can be made.

How to challenge the division of an estate

Broadly,there are two types of claim you can make against an estate:

  1. Will validity claims: a claim against the validity of the Will itself; and
  2. Other claims: claims which can be made irrespective of whether there is a Will or not.

There are five grounds on which the validity of a Will can be challenged:

  1. Lack of proper formality;
  2. Lack of mental capacity;
  3. Lack of knowledge and approval;
  4. Undue influence; and
  5. Fraud

To find out more about these grounds and when they arise, please see our article on challenging the validity of a Will here.

There are three main claims which fall under the ‘other claims’ category. To find out more about these claims please see our article entitled ‘claims that can be made even if a Will is valid’ here.

Getting specialist advice is key

You should always seek specialist legal advice, as soon as you become aware that the division of an estate may be distributed differently to how you expected.

We have a highly specialised team of legal advisers in our Inheritance & Trust Disputes team, who regularly advise on these often difficult and complex issues.

Our Inheritance & Trust Disputes team is ranked in Chambers and Partners and obtained national press coverage for two high profile cases within the last 24 months (Habberfield and Challen).

If you would like to discuss an estate or Will dispute, please get in touch with our team below and they would be happy to assist you.