Left Out of a Will? Here’s What To Do.

Left Out of a Will Guide
Legally reviewed by: Siobhan Cribbin Updated: In: Wills & Probate

The loss of a family member or loved one can be incredibly tough, especially if you are wondering why you have been left out of a will. Therefore, it’s vital you get the support needed in this difficult time to pursue a legal dispute and reach a resolution.

If you believe you have been unfairly left out of a Will our dispute resolution solicitors can help you.

Why You Might Have Been Left Out of a Will?

In most cases, upon someone’s death, their estate will be distributed among their beneficiaries. This is carried out in according to the terms of their Will. However, if you believe you have been unfairly left out of a Will, our solicitors can help you challenge it.  

Reasons you may have been excluded from a will are:

  • The deceased person disinherited you when they made their Will.
  • You used to be a beneficiary, but the deceased person made a new Will in which they disinherit you.
  • The deceased did not make a Will and you cannot inherit under the Rules of Intestacy (for example, if you are the deceased’s unmarried partner).
  • You are a named beneficiary under the Will, but the estate is insolvent and therefore you receive no inheritance.
  • You are named as a beneficiary under a Will or trust but have been missed out on inheritance due to an error in the probate and estate/trust administration process.
  • The most up to date Will has gone missing, and you are not a beneficiary on the old Will.

Being left out of a Will can be a distressing experience, leaving you with feeling of betrayal and confusion. However, it’s important to note, the resolution of the Will is not always as final as it seems. A dispute resolution solicitor can help you understand whether you have grounds to challenge a Will. For example, if you can prove a new Will is invalid, the old Will that you are included in will now take president.

In addition, you can make a claim for reasonable financial provision under Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975.

Who Can a Dispute Resolution Solicitor Advise?

A dispute resolution solicitor can advise:

  • Beneficiaries
  • People who think they should be beneficiary.
  • Executors
  • Administrators
  • Trustees

Who Can Make a Claim?

The rules on who can make a claim have recently been updated. They now include:

  • The wife or husband of the deceased.
  • A former wife, husband, or civil partner of the deceased, who has not remarried.
  • A child of the deceased.
  • Anyone who was treated as a child of the family in relation to marriage or civil partnership, or any person to whom the deceased acted as a parted in relation to ‘any family’, and not just in relation to marriage or civil partnership.
  • Any person who was maintained by the deceased (excluding any commercial arrangements)

How Can Inheritance Dispute Solicitors Help?

At Cartwright King, our inheritance dispute solicitors can help with challenging the validity of the Will, probate disputes, locating a missing will and inheritance act claims.

Challenging the Will’s Validity

For a Will to be valid it must abide to a set of strict legal rules. If the Will is not valid it can be disregarded, and an older Will applies, or the Rules of Intestacy will apply.

There are many reasons why a Will is no longer valid. This includes if someone made a Will while not mentally sound of mind.

Probate Disputes

In some cases, you might be a beneficiary of an estate but not receive your inheritance. This can be due to negligence or a mistake on behalf of the executor or administrators.

Executors and administrators are legally required to deal with an estate in line with the Will or under the Rules of Intestacy. Additionally, they must handle probate process diligently. Therefore, an executor must act in the best interest of the estate and the beneficiaries. 

If an executor breaches their duty of care, you may be able to make a legal claim. Our solicitors can help with dispute resolution regarding probates and estate administration. We will advise you of your rights, legal options and advise you on whether your claim is worth pursuing.

Locating a Missing Will

If you believe yourself to be the beneficiary of a Will that has since gone missing, our solicitors can assist you.

Our solicitors will provide advice about your options including, locating the Will and challenging any probate or estate administration process that have been started using an old Will or the Rules of Intestacy.

Inheritance Act Claims

You may be able to make a claim for reasonable financial provision in terms of your share of the inheritance if:

  • You have been left out of a Will.
  • You have not received as much as you expected from a Will.
  • You have not received as much as you need from a Will.
  • The deceased did not leave a Will and you were close family or dependant on the deceased. (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975

Get In Touch with Our Inheritance Dispute Solicitors

Our advice is backed by experience of dealing with all manner of wills and probate issues. You can trust this experience to help guide you through the process as there aren’t many family situations we haven’t come across before.

We listen, we understand and care about helping you move forward. That’s why we offer sound, honest, reliable legal advice to ensure that you’re prepared for the process.

Working with a specialist Cartwright King solicitor gives you the assurance of having access to legal counsel who will advise you at every stage of the process.

We’re a trusted, resourceful Legal 500 top-tier law firm with specialist solicitors that are calm under pressure, giving you counsel that you can count on.

Frequently Asked Questions

The timeframes in which contested probate actions must be initiated vary depending on the nature of the claim. Failing to initiate your claim within the stipulated timeframe can lead to significant complications. Therefore, it's advisable to consult a solicitor promptly to understand if your claim is worth pursuing.

If your intention is to file a claim under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependents) Act 1975, typically, you have a six-month window from the point at which probate is granted.

In instances where a beneficiary is pursuing a claim against an estate, the legal opportunity to do so expires after a span of 12 years from the date of the testator's passing.

You can contest a will after the grant of probate. However, It is advisable to avoid delay for several practical considerations. Once probate is approved, the Executors named in the Will will initiate the administration of the estate's assets. Over time, these assets will be managed and eventually distributed according to the Will's instructions. If you have intentions of contesting the Will or pursuing a claim under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975, it's crucial to take prompt action.

Legal Disclaimer.

All advice is correct at time of publication.