When would a will be considered fraudulent?
One scenario is when the beneficiaries suspect there was some kind of manipulation or fraud by a third person. But who can contest a Will when there are suspicions of fraud? So what is the difference between fraudulent and just an unfair decision made by the testator?
Well, what does the Law say about the people who can get involved in disputing a Will? As a guide, disputing a Will (or contested probate as it is sometimes known) tends to be limited to two groups of people:
– those who are named in the Will
– those beneficiaries which may inherit if the Will was not correct.
Suppose that you decide to compose a Will and you leave varying amounts of money to your partner, sister, friends and a charity. Thinking it wise, you discuss your Will with your husband and tell him about the beneficiaries and the amounts left to them. Later your husband, who dislikes your brother intensely, claims he will divorce you unless you disinherit your brother. That is not what you want.
You worry that your husband might be just after more of your money. Mention this and your marriage becomes under strain! It begins to sour relations between you as you become increasingly suspicious of some of his comments. He starts to tease about your Will and make unkind comments about your brother, putting you under pressure. Distraught and bothered, in a rush, you rewrite your Will, giving more to your brother than your husband.
In the event of your death, your husband could contest the Will possibly claiming it was fraudulent with involvement from your brother. If the Will is sucessfully contested, you may well get more than you anticipated.
For those who can contest a Will because they are named in it, we can take the example of your best friend. She is not related to you, but you have left her a gift as part of your Will. She will have to oppotunity to contest it if she feels it was incorrect. The case could be there was a mistake in the writing – if, perhaps, she is to receive £5 instead of £500.
Solicitors act as a support when you are unhappy with the reading of a Will and will inform you when you have grounds to contest. However if you are thinking of disputing a will, make sure that any solicitor you appoint is a specialist in this complex area of law.