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Tips for Resolving Wills Disputes Amicably

In all likelihood, you never imagined you would be considering contesting a will – but many people will have to consider the prospect at some point in their lives.

Contesting a will in the UK is a difficult and bumpy process, even with the best legal team, but there are ways to ensure that it runs as smoothly as possible. Here are a few tips to get you started.

Know Who to Talk to (and About What)

Contesting a will can sometimes entail serious allegations against one or more of your relatives. When so many different emotions are involved at once – not least of all your grief over the loss of a close family member – it can be very easy for emotions to get the better of you. While you may not plan on it, bringing all your suspicions and grievances to the surface can just happen, and lead to a major fallout with a lot of bad feelings.

It may also mean that sensitive elements of your case are brought to light at the wrong moment, potentially jeopardising litigation.

If your will dispute involves any accusations against another person, avoid discussing them with anyone close to the situation – or the individual or individuals themselves.

Talk to your solicitor. They are there to hear all of your concerns and work out how to move forward. They are not biased towards any one individual and don’t have any vested interest in the will. This is fundamental to the strength of your case.

Don’t Expect a Quick or Easy Resolution

Will disputes are incredibly difficult to navigate. Specialised will dispute solicitors are the only people who can see the wood for the trees when it comes to contesting what appear to be the testator’s final wishes – but, even with the best team on your side, progress is gradual and, at times, frustratingly slow.

If you go into the process fully aware of the gravity of the situation and the difficulties involved in disputing a will, you will be much better prepared for the experience. Even if you feel that the case is cut-and-dried and that no judge would disagree with your argument, things won’t be resolved just like that.

Try to Process Your Grief Separately

A will that fails to meet expectations can easily cause a lot of frustration, sadness, regret, hurt, and anger. It’s very natural to feel even an element of resentment toward the testator for putting you in such a difficult position, or not planning far enough in advance when there is, potentially, a lot of money at stake. A lot of people are dependent on their inheritance, and realising it may not come can feel a lot like the rug has been pulled from beneath you.

This is all very normal, but many people can feel upset that their grief is derailed by all those new (and unexpected) negative feelings.

Remember that, often, there is a very innocent explanation between oversights or inconsistencies in a will – or, alternatively, that the testator was simply incapable of realising what their wishes would entail for you – or even that there was a will at all.

Treat your grief as its own entity, and consider visiting a therapist for your grief, in order to ensure that your experience with the will does not infringe on your existing (and longstanding) feelings for your relative. It won’t be easy, but it will help you to maintain equilibrium through this process.