To contest the will(122 Posts)
Sorry if this is long, just trying to explain.
My grandparents were happily married until my grandmother sadly died about 15 years ago. She left everything to my grandad, as you would expect.
This included a large house, substantial savings and various other valuables.
My grandad was lost without her and married again, to a woman who also had her own family.
This was fine, we all got on well, until my grandad sadly died last year.
They drew up wills that left everything to each other, with whoever died second leaving it to their families that split with 80% going to our family and 20% to hers, reflecting the estate at the time they met (she did not own a property or have savings before they married).
As it happened, she sadly died a couple of months after him, and unbeknown to us, her children had been made executors to a new will which left everything to them.
To complicate matters, she was suffering from memory loss and dementia before she died and we don't think she would have had capacity to make a new will.
We have written to her Family and they responded through solicitors to say that they don't think she had anything wrong with her and if we want to challenge will have to take it to the courts.
This seems to be very expensive and I'm not quite sure how we would go about it. But it's sad that my grandparents wishes will not be followed and we have not even been allowed to collect our family photos and Mementoes from my grandparents house before it was sold. They didn't tell us she'd died and got a house clearance firm in without our knowledge. There is nothing left.
One of the executors actually sent a text message to my mum saying that if we do challenge it will we will get nothing anyway as they will have already spent all the money before it goes through the courts.
Would I be unreasonable to try to help my mum telling to this? Does anybody have any experience of this? Do will ever get over attend and is it hugely expensive to do this?
Sorry, that should read 'do wills ever get over turned and is it hugely expensive to do this?'
I'm also curious about what happens if they have spent all of the (substantial sum of) money before a decision could be made. Would we just be wasting our money trying to take it to court?
how awful. I think you need to get professional legal advice. Those people sound absolutely awful.
I can't help you really, other than to say remarriage and wills is a minefield. I think the best thing anyone can do is specifically leave their money to their family, when they die. If there's a house then it's possible to add a clause that allows the surviving partner to live there for the rest of their life.
Sorry for the mess your family are left with, perhaps a chat with your own solicitors would give you an idea of how you stand.
I wouldnt necessarily believe they have spent all the money. Can you speak to a solicitor about it all?
No legal advice but what awful people.
What people will do for money never ceases to amaze me.
It is so sad that all your personal stuff has gone . That would be the most upsetting bit for me.
I think you need good professional advice. Wills can be contested and can be overturned. I don'the know the cost i'my afraid.
If they have spent the money the issue would be that they have no assets to enforce against. You could make them bankrupt but that woukdn'the help you financialy
I would definitely going get some initial advice from solicitor, ideally specialising in probate.
I have no idea really but it sounds like you have a good case. I dare say this kind of scenario is all too common .
Im so sorry for your loss. I feel you should definitely contest it- It was your grandfather's wishes for you to benefit. You shouls seek legal advice asap- they can apply for an order stopping the assests being spent. You can also get no win no fee solocitors to contest wills.
Contest the will at all costs. . My aunt left all her possessions and those of my gm to her carer!! I didn't get any of my childhood things back that my gm had cherished. It still upsets me deeply over 20 years later. Not the material things or money but my gm things that meant so much.
I would imagine that you could do something about this. Have you got a copy of the original will?
Definitely see a solicitor pronto.
We have just had a similar (but nowhere near as bad) situation and in the end we didn't contest. But firstly –as everyone has written – get professional advice. My experience (although this was also in Scotland where the rules are different) is that you'd have to be able to show that she didn't understand what she was doing when she changed the will. Oh – and don't delete the text message.
check any insurance you have as legal phone line help is often included even if you opted out of legal cover.
Normally I would say dont contest a will but in this case I would do so.
Sounds as if you need to talk to someome about it.
How far in advance can you will stuff though?
Once it was hers, could she have rewilled in favour of her family?
Sounds like might have a good case, but it will be expensive and time consuming and stressful.
Maybe worth paying for a consultation with a solicitor specializing in probate so they can set out who likely you would be to succeed what is involved (time/costs).
You need good professional advice here. Used to work for a solicitor where we had probate battles, look at about 2-3 years for it all to be completed.
What grabby people though.
I would def contest this! They sound such awful scummy people to do this - its out and out stealing. Probate specialist pronto. Also would there be medical records regarding your gran's dementia etc? No idea how you would go about getting it but there must be evidence.
They sound like disgusting people. Make sure you keep all correspondence especially the bit about spending all the money! I don't really know legally, I suppose it depends how much evidence you have about your Grandparents wishes.
The injustice of it would make me want to fight it but for the costs involved it might not be worth it. At least make an initial appointment with a solicitor that deals in that area to get a clear picture of how things would work.
and unbeknown to us, her children had been made executors to a new will which left everything to them
This looks like deliberate concealment rather than innocently overlooking telling you about it. If it was all fair why not inform you at the time
That is bloody terrible for your family. Sorry for your losses and this on top of those must be awful.
A similar thing happened to the blood children of Peter Sellers. He was separated from his last wife when he died, but she got everything. His children nothing. She remarried, had a daughter with her husband, then she died and her daughter got all Sellers money, everything, and Sellers children got again nothing.
Op I have just been looking into all this and I found this yesterday
If you are aged 70 or over, or have a history of mental illness, it might be worth asking your GP for what is known as a “capacity report”, which states that you are of fit mind to write a will. Your solicitor may ask you to do this, even if you feel it is unnecessary.
“If the will is challenged down the track and a claimant says that you were not mentally capable of writing a will, this document will go a long way to fighting the claim,” Mr Evans said.
Ask for copies of your solicitor’s notes, to ensure you are satisfied with the level of detail on record.
It is also worth writing a “letter of wishes” to add to the file. This explains, in your own words, who you want to benefit from your estate. If you want to exclude someone, include specific reasons why. “Avoid spiteful language here,” Mr Barnett said. “The court will not look favourably on it. It is much better to couch things in positive, factual terms.”
Either they do have this capacity back up - or they dont, if they dont, looks promising you may have a claim!
This behaviour does not surprise me one bit - we had very similar in our family, when people move quickly like this its very hard to un pick and back track,
Another thing you can do is put caveat on will and do you have copy of your grandfathers will?
I am pretty sure you would get something and should contest it - for principle apart from anything else. but I have no legal expertise. Its the fact your GF will was split in such a way...its all so shifty
Yes you should challenge on capacity grounds and seek an immediate injunction to stop them spending the money in the meantime. Do you have access to the original wills?
Many firms who do contentious probate work will offer 'No Win No Fee' arrangements if they think there's a good chance the challenge will be successful. Presumably the fees will be higher in this case than under a normal fee arrangement, but at least it limits your risk.
Two national firms who offer this:
Also, perhaps post in the Legal section about this for better advice
I think proving lack of capacity to make the new will is going to be relatively easy. The real issue is going to be what happens then. When a will is declared invalid the estate then falls under the rules of intestacy it doesn't reinstate a previous will and it is that bit which will cause you problems.
Definitely contest it. This happened in my family with my GF, almost identical. My family should have done something IMO but didn't. It caused a lot of hard feeling as I remember, I was only a child at the time.
Good luck x
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