Illegitimate Children in Will Contestation

 

 

The Sanctity of a Will

When a will has been prepared and the author has died, it is normal procedure for the wishes of the deceased to be followed and courts are generally very reluctant to get involved with what seems to be a valid will. However, it is possible for a party to make a challenge, if certain criteria are met, or other criteria have not been met. The Succession Act 2006 and the amendments made within the Family Provision Claim section allow challenges to be made regarding the mental health of the writer, the fairness of the provisions and the financial dependency of those who may be entitled to some of the estate.

Reasons for a Will Disputation to be Considered

A will can be challenged for several reasons. One is where the will is ambiguous or unclear in its intentions, and the court can be asked to intervene when the instructions are not totally obvious and precise. A challenge can also be made if the provisions can be shown to be grossly unfair, leaving one or more dependants without any benefit. Another possibility for a dispute can occur if there is more than one will, or it can be shown that the person writing the will may have been tricked, or deceived into making provisions, that were essentially the fraudulent or deceptive will of another person, thus depriving potential beneficiaries from receiving their just percentage. If you feel any of these are applicable to you, it is best to discuss your case with expert will dispute lawyers.

Persons Who Have the Right to Contest a Will

A will is considered an extremely important document, which should be followed to the letter, though there are occasions when someone may have unintentionally been left out, or a mistake is felt to have occurred. Those who can make a challenge are tightly restricted and are generally immediate family members, such as a current or former partner, children and grandchildren, or someone who was in a close relationship at the time of the person’s death. There may have been changes in circumstances between when the will was written and when the death occurred, which may not have been documented, especially if the death was sudden and unexpected.

Illegitimate Children’s Rights

It has long been recognised that a significant number of children are born out of wedlock, and it is obviously unfair to penalise them from receiving an inheritance, especially since families today often contain children from different relationships. Under Status of Children Act 1996 No 76 illegitimate, or exnuptial children are essentially granted exactly the same status as those born within wedlock, and as such are entitled to make a claim upon an estate, in exactly the same way as those born legitimately. Hence, when a parent leaves something to his “children”, it will effectively mean all of them. The will maker can leave anyone out, however, they must clearly state exactly why they have done so, and in the case of a child, cannot do so, if they have a legal obligation to the child’s welfare.

Contesting a will is a complicated thing to do. The first thing you should do, if you feel you have a claim, is to discuss it with your local legal professionals to obtain very clear advice on how to proceed.

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