Inheritance disputes are often costly and can cause emotional strain for all of those involved. When grieving the loss of a loved one, disputing their final will may be a daunting decision to make.
However, after the testator’s passing any eligible individuals will only have a period of nine months to contest or challenge their final will. Because of this it’s important that, if you’re considering making a claim against a deceased individuals’ estate, you get in contact with an inheritance lawyer promptly.
What are the Types of Inheritance Disputes?
When entering into an inheritance dispute, the claimant has the option to either contest or challenge the testators’ will. The legal approach that is taken will depend wholly on the unique circumstances of the case and the grounds of the individuals’ claim. If you’re involved in an inheritance dispute, it’s important to understand the distinct characteristics of your situation.
In instances where a will is being contested, the claimant believes that the deceased’s allocation of their assets is unfair. Because of this, their case is based on the legality that they have not received adequate and proper provision and maintenance from the testator. As such, individuals who contest a will are doing so with the intention of achieving a revised, fairer distribution of the estate in question.
When a will is being challenged, the claimant argues that the testator’s final will and testament is invalid. Such claims may be made when there is evidence that the deceased was victim to undue influence or coercion at the time their will was written. In addition to this, a will may be challenged when it is believed that the testator did not have the mental capacity required to create a valid will.
If you’ve become involved in an inheritance dispute and are contesting, challenging or defending a will there are a number of key tips that can be taken into consideration to guide your actions.
Gain Professional Assistance from an Inheritance Lawyer
If you’re considering making a claim against an estate, or need to defend the testator’s wishes, a great starting point for any case is to seek out expert guidance and advice from an inheritance lawyer. Even though your case will have distinctive and unique features, it’s likely that an experienced inheritance lawyer has dealt with situations similar to your own in the past.
Many inheritance lawyers offer a free, no-obligation initial consultation or appraisal that will provide you with valuable legal insights into the merit of your case. Speaking with an inheritance lawyer will help to ensure you’re fully aware of your rights and that if you decide to proceed with your case, you can do so in confidence.
In addition to this an inheritance lawyer can help you determine whether you are, in fact, an eligible person in the position to lodge a valid claim. To be considered an eligible person a claimant must be either a spouse or domestic partner of the deceased, their child, or an individual who was a member of the testators’ household at the time of their passing.
Read the Inheritance Dispute Documents Carefully
Before making the decision to legally contest or challenge a will, it’s important to make sure that you’ve carefully read and interpreted the documents in question.
When grieving the loss of a loved one, emotions are high and it’s easy to miss certain points that may have not been clearly expressed in the testators will. As such, it’s crucial to ensure that your understanding of the wills’ contents is accurate and that any ambiguities have been clarified.
It’s also not uncommon for individuals thinking about entering into an inheritance dispute to have been looking at an out-dated version of the deceased’s will. In their lifetime, a testator may create multiple wills to cater to their varying needs and circumstances. It’s crucial that, prior to contesting or challenging a will, the claimant is certain that the version of the deceased’s will that is being referred to is the most recent valid will they created.
Consider Out-of-Court Settlements for your Inheritance Dispute
Not all inheritance disputes need to end in a court battle. In fact, the majority of cases are settled out of court through a process known as mediation.
During mediation, individuals with a direct involvement in the inheritance dispute discuss their case in the presence of a neutral third party. This person is known as a mediator and, ultimately, aims to assist the claimant and defendant in reaching an agreement.
In cases where the process of mediation is successful, the final agreement will be drawn up in a contract that is then signed by each party. If the individuals fail to settle the inheritance dispute, their case will be taken to court.
If you’re unsure whether you have a valid case, or would like to begin the process of pursuing a claim against an estate, please do not hesitate to get in contact with an inheritance lawyer today.