How Participants Contesting a Will Should Operate

It can be a sensitive subject when it comes to discuss the merits of contesting a Will for a beneficiary.

As the executor of the document has their own role to play in this setting, there are parties who believe that they are entitled to certain assets and possessions that they believe they are owed.

Yet there can be complications for individuals who don’t quite know who to speak to, what to do, what not to do and how they can go about a successful contest.

The good news is that there are strategies at hand that will help citizens achieve these results.


Knowing The Difference Between a Contest & a Challenge

Step number one for people looking at contesting a Will is to understand that there is a stark difference at play between a ‘contest’ of a document and a ‘challenge’ to one. The former involves a situation where a party feels aggrieved that they have not been given what they believe they are entitled to, or even worse, have been left off the document altogether. This is where a majority of people find themselves in when they are looking to take action. Others however will look to challenge the Will, making claims that the paper is illegitimate because it was signed under dubious circumstances. Once that framework is understood, the rest of the case can progress.


Determining Eligibility for Contest

If the participant who is looking at contesting a Will turns out to be ineligible for such a position, then the process will be null and void before it is even underway. This is where due diligence has to be taken to ensure that they have the grounds to contest the document. From being 18 years or older to being a spouse or direct relative of the deceased, there are very defined parameters that will dictate who is actually entitled to contest the matter in a legal setting. If they understand that they are eligible and their claims are legitimate, then they are empowered to move forward with contesting a Will.


Examine Mediation Process

If there is a breakdown between the executor and beneficiaries when contesting a Will, then the involvement of mediation specialists is highly recommended. These practitioners offer a voluntary environment that is entirely confidential, allowing for all parties to open talks discretely about their dispute. Many individuals find these process more preferable than going through the legal system, saving on time and costs without exacerbating the issue further.


Knowing The Time Parameters Involved

Those individuals who are looking at contesting a Will should understand that time is of the essence. Yet this is not to say that they can make such a move before probate has been granted, offering a window of opportunity for participants who want to see that their rights have been upheld. The time that is set in this regard is 6 months after probate has been granted, giving participants half a year to take action and file for a contest. There can be unique circumstances where additional time is granted, but these scenarios are few and far between.


Finding Suitable Representation

hands of a lawyer holding a pen

Unless the participant in question has a sound legal background, anyone who is looking at contesting a Will should have suitable representation in their corner. These practitioners will be able to do a lot of the logistics and hard work behind the scenes to lodge paperwork on time, deal with intermediaries and construct a framework that allows for dialogue to take place. They will have experience dealing with mediation as well as courtroom settings, including flexible financial agreements that can be dependent on the outcome of the settlement.