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How do I go about contesting a will — my dad’s will left me much less than my brothers and I can’t think of any reason why?

You may be able to show that the will is invalid if any of the following apply:

  • Your father made a later will.
  • Your father remarried after he made the will (unless the will explicitly says that it was made ‘in contemplation of’ the marriage).
  • It was not properly signed and witnessed.
  • It is a forgery.
  • Your father lacked the mental capacity to make a will — he was incapable of making decisions when he made it.
  • He made the will under serious duress or undue influence (such as coercion, intimidation or deception).
  • He did not know of and approve the will’s contents.

Alternatively, family members and dependents may be able to contest a bequest in the will on the basis that it does not make ‘reasonable financial provision’ for them. However, if you are over 18 and no longer financially dependent on your father, it is less likely you will succeed.

If you have a valid claim, it is almost always better to settle it by negotiation or mediation rather than going to court. You should take legal advice quickly as there are time limits for making a claim.

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