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How do I Contest a Will in Northern Ireland?

Updated March 23, 2017

Wills in Northern Ireland, UK, clearly define your last wishes with instructions about how to distribute your assets and estate. Your will is a binding legal document meant to ensure that everything is concluded quickly and efficiently without discrepancies between parties.

However, UK law allows you to contest a will in Northern Ireland. This generally relates to three main reasons: it was not prepared in accordance with the law, no provision was made for a dependent of the deceased, or there is sufficient evidence to suggest the will was made under duress or implications of fraud.

You must be a dependent of the deceased and/or have a provable relationship before you contest a will in Northern Ireland. There must be a clear link between the parties involved. You may be disabled and relied on financial assistance from the deceased, or perhaps you were partners for many years and the property you shared was in the deceased's name and has been left to another person.

Retain a lawyer (one proficient in UK probate law). Ensure that you choose a lawyer who was not associated with the will. If you need to find a lawyer, go to the Law Society of Northern Ireland website.

Give your lawyer a copy of the will. Explain your reasons for contesting the will. He will review the will and advise whether your case is strong enough, according to UK law, to contest it.

Get your lawyer to appeal to a Northern Ireland court immediately. The court must prevent the distribution of assets. Although a court can insist that assets be recalled, if they have already been distributed, it may take some time and, in some cases, may not be able to be recalled. For example, if cash was distributed it may have been spent and will be difficult to trace.

Have your lawyer prepare your case to contest the will. A time will be set for a hearing before the court in Northern Ireland.

Attend court with your lawyer. Your case will be heard and a decision given.

Tip

If your lawyer says your claim is unlikely to succeed you can get a second opinion but it will involve more expenses and the outcome could be the same.

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About the Author

Stephen Benham has been writing since 1999. His current articles appear on various websites. Benham has worked as an insurance research writer for Axco Services, producing reports in many countries. He has been an underwriting member at Lloyd's of London and a director of three companies. Benham has a diploma in business studies from South Essex College, U.K.