What to do When You’re Unexpectedly Omitted from a Loved One's Will - The Stratford Observer

What to do When You’re Unexpectedly Omitted from a Loved One's Will

Stratford Editorial 19th Sep, 2023   0

Keep reading for some practical steps to take if your relative’s will has left you feeling confused.

First, focus on keeping a level head

It’s easy for emotions to run high, particularly if you suspect that a member of your family has played a role in omitting you from the will. Remember that contesting a will can sometimes mean making some hefty accusations against another person – in particular, someone with whom you used to have a good relationship.

In some cases, it’s possible to reach a mutual agreement without the need for solicitors and court. In others, it’s clear from the start that legal recourse is the only option. Either way, try not to let your emotions get the better of you; you may well have a long process ahead of you, and it’s best to pace yourself. Distance yourself from certain family members if necessary, but avoid any heated back-and-forth.

If needed, a solicitor can act as a professional mediator – someone with no vested interest in any party, and with an expert understanding of the complexities of inheritance law.

Next, put yourself in touch with a solicitor

Time is of the essence if you want to work with will dispute solicitors to contest the will. In the overwhelming majority of cases, claimants will have to bring their claim within six months of grant of probate. In some cases, it is possible to contest a will after more than six months have passed, but it can be much more difficult.

No matter how much time you have on your side, speaking with a solicitor as soon as possible means getting your facts straight, and knowing what choices are available to you, sooner rather than later.

When emotions are running high, that’s an important lifeline to have.

Prepare yourself for the long haul

Contesting a will is rarely a quick process. Since the testator is no longer here to clarify their wishes and the reasoning behind those wishes, the courts have to review all evidence available to reach the most satisfying conclusion possible.

This takes time – and lots of it. For this reason alone, will disputes can incur a high cost, although the good news is solicitors offer a lot of different options for payment. A no-win, no-fee option may be best for you to consider, as it means you won’t have to saddle yourself with high costs if the outcome isn’t favourable to you.

Try not to let this erase the good memories

Being omitted from a will, whether intentionally or not, can be incredibly upsetting. There’s no opportunity for a conversation or apology, and it can feel as though you’ve been left with an open-ended sense of rejection that won’t ever heal.

But remember that time heals all wounds, and that, eventually, the good moments you shared with the testator will prove more memorable than how you feel right now. Grief can feel all-consuming, but this part doesn’t last. Try to focus on the future and the better parts of the past.

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