When a beloved family member dies, emotions are often running very high and a small grievance can quickly escalate into something much larger. Bereavements are always difficult to deal with, and this is particularly true if you feel as if you have been treated unfairly by the will that was left behind. Cases of wills being successfully challenged are becoming more commonplace, due to the growth of our ageing population.
The Validity of a Will
This is very strictly defined under English Law and a will must be made in writing and signed by the testator in the presence of two witnesses. They must also attest and sign the will in his or her presence. In some circumstances, the will can be signed in the presence of the person making it and at his direction. A valid will can only be made by someone who has the mental capacity to understand what they are undertaking and the extent of their estate. This becomes very difficult if the testator is suffering from an illness like Alzheimer’s or is terminally ill and under the influence of heavy medication.
Successfully Challenging a Will
To successfully contest a will, you must be able to prove that the person making it did not know about, approve of or understand its content. Certain circumstances surrounding the will may make it vulnerable to investigation, including a carer preparing the will or the main beneficially preparing the will for the deceased. You can also successfully challenge a will if you can prove that the testator was coerced into making it and would otherwise have not written it as it appears. Coercion includes physical violence, the threat of physical violence or the isolation of the deceased from other members of the family or social or legal services.
Things to Remember
It’s important to act quickly if you believe a will to be invalid, before assets are liquidated, split up or given away to beneficiaries. Probate actions are usually expensive to pursue, small claims reaching up to £10,000 and £250,000 and beyond for larger claims that involve considerable assets. Contesting a will is never something that should be undertaken lighting, regardless of the difficult feelings that arise after bereavement. It’s very unusual for successful challenges to a will to include the charge of forgery, as this is very expensive and difficult to prove. If you want to know more about contesting a will and the legal assistance available, visit www.willclaim.com/.
by Mrs Money
The other day I realized it’s going to be seven years since we purchased our house. It is so hard for me to believe, and I’m so proud of how I’ve really helped turn this house into a home. I’ve painted pretty much every surface in this house; installed new flooring in many of the rooms, and decorated to make it feel like it’s truly our home. Right now, I’m very happy with our home and I work hard to keep it clean, decluttered, and organized so it’s a place we love to be. With a two year old, we don’t go out as much as we used to, so it’s nice to have a place to hang out in which we’re comfortable.
About five years ago I couldn’t wait to sell our house and move. We’ve considered moving to Michigan (where my family is) or Colorado (where Mr. Money’s family is). My sister ended up moving to our state about a year ago and since she did that, we’ve felt more like this is where we are meant to be right now. I’m happy with it and so is Mr. Money. However, if things changed I think we may consider relocating. Our families are not getting any younger, and it does make me sad that Penny doesn’t get to experience living near most of our family. It’s hard!
Before we would consider moving, there are plenty of points we’d have to consider. First and foremost we’d have to find a good paying job with benefits for Mr. Money. That’s non-negotiable. Of course we need income to support our family so if he couldn’t find a job there’s no way we’d be able to move. Since we try to limit our expenses and live frugally, we’d probably be able to make it if his salary was a little less than ideal. Having health insurance is a very nice thing to have, and not something I’d like to go without.
We’d also have to be able to afford a reasonably sized house in a good area, preferably with some land. I wouldn’t want to give up our house and property that I love to move somewhere else that I didn’t. I’d also like our new house to have a garage, basement, and wood stove. Those are probably the three most important things that we’d require if we were going to look for a new house. Knowing how weird I am about organization, I’d have to use a moving house checklist to ensure everything was completed.
I would love to move somewhere new and interesting- maybe Montana or Utah, but since we don’t have family there it wouldn’t be an option. I’m very glad that we lived in Steamboat Springs, Colorado for a few years when we were young and child free. It was a great opportunity and I don’t think we’d ever be able to do that again! Right now I’m going to continue to make our house a home and do upgrades to our house when we can so we can maximize our profit if we ever do sell!
What factors are most important in deciding where you live? Do you live near your family?