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How easy is it to contest a will?

(26 Posts)
Wurfit Fri 18-Oct-19 19:39:13

I'll try to keep this simple.

My MIL died very recently, leaving her house to DH and her belongings (inc. jewellery but still not worth a great deal) to SIL. The will was written not long after FIL died 15 years ago.
FIL was adamant that SIL would never get a penny, for a number of reasons.

DH offered unprompted to pay SIL c.80k as although FIL and MIL's reasons for not leaving any of the house to SIL are understandable, DH is a decent bloke. This will require taking out a mortgage on the house (which is owned outright, although still in MIL's name as v.early days).

DH has been living in the house since FIL died, looking after MIL - he's put his life on hold in many ways to do this.

Now SIL is demanding £200k. The house is worth maybe £300k tops.

How easy would it be for her to contest the will and force DH to sell? Any ideas much appreciated.

Soontobe60 Fri 18-Oct-19 19:51:17

She can try, but it will cost her shit loads of money and probably not be successful. on what grounds does she want to contest it?
If the will was correctly written and witnessed, and she was not financially dependent on her mother at the time of her death, she's no chance of succeeding.
Your DH does not need to give her any money at all. Is there a reason why he isn't selling her house? If he remortgaged for 80k it would cost him much more in the long term.

Soontobe60 Fri 18-Oct-19 19:52:46

I've just realised that your DH lived with his mother for 15 years! Where did you live during that time?

Quartz2208 Fri 18-Oct-19 19:53:09

yes its pretty difficult if all correctly done

Why is he offering I would stop and see her reaction as exactly why she was cut out in the first place

Aquamarine1029 Fri 18-Oct-19 19:55:17

It's not easy at all and it would cost her a fortune. Given the will was written 15 years ago, not at a time when your MIL was unwell or suffering from cognitive problems I'm assuming, your SIL probably doesn't stand a chance in hell.

Northernlurker Fri 18-Oct-19 20:00:46

If your dh has lived there for 15 years I wouldn't encourage him to mortgage it. Sil has nothing to claim. It's perfectly legal to disinherit a child as long as they aren't dependant. Sil asking for two hundred grand is greedy and absurd.

ChicCroissant Fri 18-Oct-19 20:01:54

DH has been living in the house since FIL died, looking after MIL - he's put his life on hold in many ways to do this.

Considering this was 15 years ago, did you not live there as well - do you have another property that you both own? Is the amount your SIL is asking for equivalent to half of the estate?

Windydaysuponus Fri 18-Oct-19 20:02:44

You dh should respect fils wishes imo..

Salene Fri 18-Oct-19 20:03:02

No idea but after being greedy like that I would be giving her nothing if I was your DH. The cheek of her shock

Wurfit Fri 18-Oct-19 20:21:07

Given the will was written 15 years ago, not at a time when your MIL was unwell or suffering from cognitive problems I'm assuming, your SIL probably doesn't stand a chance in hell.
I thought the will being quite old might be a bad thing, but put that way (MIL had begun to show signs of dementia towards the end) maybe not.

I've lived in the house for less than a year (we're very recently married and I had to rent elsewhere before that to be near DC's school).

Why is he offering I would stop and see her reaction as exactly why she was cut out in the first place
Well yes, and I kind of agree. I do think her not being left anything is harsh though. DH is just trying to do the best by her and her children. She is absolutely reeling, understandably. She might be the black sheep (lots of trouble with the law, benefit fraud you name it) but she was still their daughter.
The will looks to me as if it was done properly - DH has a copy, another is held at the solicitor's office (hopefully). There are witnesses etc.

Wurfit Fri 18-Oct-19 20:23:56

Bit of further context, one of my (adult) step DCs is still living here, the other only moved out recently. They've lived with their dad for most of the time he's been in the house. It's a family home basically.

I don't own any property. SIL and her kids all have HA homes.

FunOnTheBeach20 Fri 18-Oct-19 20:28:52

Theres certain grounds to contest a will, deciding more money would just be nice isn’t likely to be looked favourably upon by a judge.

Drum2018 Fri 18-Oct-19 20:29:55

Given that she was left something it should be nigh on impossible to contest as she was provided for in some sense. Dh was left a percentage of fils will and his other sibling a much smaller percentage. We were sure she'd contest but our solicitor assured Dh that she wouldn't stand a chance as she'd been left something. Your Dh was very foolish to offer her anything. He should take that offer back now, let her take the jewellery etc and let her sod off. Your PIL had their reasons for leaving her less so your Dh should really not go against their wishes.

Wurfit Sat 19-Oct-19 00:04:47

SIL seems to believe that we'll just be able to hand over this money, in cash, within days. She's already asking where it is, and we've not even held the funeral yet hmm
Would there be any point in paying a solicitor to send an official letter explaining in very simple terms that this shit takes months, not days?

misspiggy19 Sat 19-Oct-19 00:13:30

Your SIL sounds like a right piece of work. Your DH must be mad wanting to give her anything.

trendingsomewhere Sat 19-Oct-19 09:50:58

Don't pay a solicitor to tell your SIL about the probate process just text her a link to google.

I personally would grey rock her.

It's not up to me to decide whether your dp gives her some money as compensation, legally it's very unlikely she is entitled to any, but they are siblings and he can decide either way.

Just as long as he is prepared that even if he gives her £80k or £200k she sounds the type know will never be happy unless she has the lot, and will probably not have good relations with your dp after she gets as much money as she can.

Your DP doesn't sound very well off, can he afford a £80k mortgage (he will be paying back (£160k depending on the term of the mortgage)?

Wurfit Sat 19-Oct-19 10:28:06

We can afford it, but no he doesn't earn a lot and we could use that money so much more wisely to help the whole family. She's very much about instant gratification, and isn't terribly bright either.
His plan was to give her and each of her children and grandchildren a sum from that £80k. She however wants to spend £60k of anything she gets to make improvements to her council house confusedhmm
Grey rocking is easier said than done. She has one hell of a tribe on her side baying for blood and they've already started making life difficult for DH's children.

EggysMom Sat 19-Oct-19 10:40:31

You can begin to understand why she was only left tokens in the will ...

DaWeasleyWae Sat 19-Oct-19 10:50:37

I'd stick to PIL's wishes, after all- that's what the will is for. Explain the situation to the sister and then go low contact if needs be. Sounds like a nasty peice of work that I wouldn't want to be around in any case

RagamuffinCat Sat 19-Oct-19 11:09:16

She could spend a lot of the 80k on legal fees trying (and probably failing) to get more money from the estate. Does your husband really want to give her money in order to take action against him?

Slaymill Sat 19-Oct-19 11:20:53

My sister who would make the devil look benevolent swopped when I was having a baby and took my dementia struck mother away. She changed the will and isolated her.

When she died she took everything I tried to contest but it was just a pit of despair and the costs were exorbitant.

Your husband should sit tight though if she fights back she will pay his bill with solicitors. As it comes from the estate.

user1497207191 Sat 19-Oct-19 11:27:16

Hopefully, if MIL used a qualified solicitor to prepare and witness the will, that massively reduces the chance of a successful challenge as it should not only be legally watertight, there should also be notes on the solicitor's file about background/reasoning etc which can be used in court if necessary.

I've been involved in a couple of will challenges in a professional capacity. Having copies of the solicitor's file, and maybe even an affidavit by the solicitor carries a lot of weight in helping to prove sound mind, reasoning, etc.

Wurfit Sat 19-Oct-19 11:51:19

We have an appointment with a solicitor who would have been at the practice at the time and is now senior there. He's a local boy, which I think will help him understand the context (some of the ILs are possibly known to him - they're quite notorious).

prh47bridge Sat 19-Oct-19 12:10:00

There are two ways she could try to challenge the will assuming you are in England or Wales.

She could try an Inheritance Act claim arguing that the will has not made reasonable financial provision for her. As she was not dependent on your MIL such a claim is unlikely to succeed.

Alternatively, she could try challenging the validity of the will. If the will was properly drawn up and executed she is unlikely to succeed with that either.

There are no other grounds for challenging the will. She may want more money and/or think that the will is unfair but she won't be able to challenge it on that basis.

SD1978 Sat 19-Oct-19 12:10:19

Well she's demonstrated nicely why she was previously disinherited really. If it was possibly to do so without too much family hassle, I would rescind the offer. Clearly your in laws were making a good decision.....

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