What can you do if you wish to dispute a Will?

There are certain rules in respect of disclosure of information, regarding a deceased will.

Generally, the rule is that the information should only be made available to the personal representatives of the state (the executors), or to others with the executor’s consent prior to obtaining the Grant of the Administration.

However, in a case ‘Larke V Nugus’ (2000), the court gave recommendations for the provision of information, in a situation whereby there is a proposed claim against the estate, and a challenge to the will.

The party must a have a legitimate reason for challenging the will, and the court recommended that where a request for information is made to a solicitor who prepared and/or witnessed the execution of the will, then there is a dispute in relation to that will, they should provide the challenging party with answers to reasonable questions raised. The effect of this case means that the request now carries judicial weight.

A formal letter is presented to the person who dealt with the drafting of the will, with questions that need to be answered. These statements are frequently requested by the claimant, or their solicitor as evidence against the validity of the will, on the grounds of lack of testamentary capacity, undue influence, want of knowledge or approval or forgery.

These requests can often be a fishing expedition, and it is not always the case that this is the correct way of obtaining the requested information. However, it is a starting point.