I take it that by reading this Blog you feel you have justifiable reasons to think you have been omitted from a will whether a member of family or someone you thought would remember you.
Here are the steps we follow in bringing a successful Will Challenges claim.
1.We take a detailed note of the grounds on which you believe you have an entitlement to claim. With that we give you an initial opinion as to whether you have the basis of a successful claim.
2.We will send the facts to an experienced Barrister dealing with this specialised area for their opinion.
3.When we have this and they agree with our opinion that a successful case is possible we write to the Solicitors dealing with the Estate of the deceased.
4.We advise them at the earliest opportunity that there may be claim against the Estate.
5.They may either agree not to dispose of any of the assets of the Estate pending dealing with the claim.
6.If they are uncooperative it is possible to put a block on the administration of the Estate called a Caveat. This prevents the issue of the Grant of Probate.
7.Proceedings are then issued as drafted by the Barrister and usually the Solicitors dealing with the Estate accept service of these proceedings.
8.In these type of cases there is a further document called an Affidavit of Scripts. This places the original will on the Court file.
9.There may be Discovery of documents by both sides such as notes taken when the will was drafted and signed.
10.The Estate may put in a Defence denying that you have any claim.
After that the matter will be set down for hearing in either the Circuit Court or High Court depending on the value of the Estate.
In recent years the courts encourage parties to go to a Mediation which is both quicker and less expensive than a full Court Hearing.
All parties must agree to be bound by the Mediation . It is voluntary and parties can’t be compelled to attend if they don’t wish to and may prefer to go to full court hearing.
The position about legal costs and outlays is up to the presiding Judge or Mediator.
In summary a successful challenge will usually result in the costs of the case for all parties been taken from the Estate. On the downside of that if the Court feels that the case had no change of succeed they can order that the unsuccessful claimant pay their own costs and also the costs of the defence of the claim.
Wills challenges are costly and time-consuming and not for the fainthearted and definitely not for someone does not have a genuine cause of action.
If you need advice on any aspect of a potential Wills challenge please contact us through our website or a confidential letter addressed to our office.