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Grounds to contest a will

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thefamilyspout | 00:33 Thu 14th Jan 2010 | Civil
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Sorry this is so long - any thoughts please ?

My Grandmother died mid 2009. She had a sound will, which was made over 20 years ago and she was happy with the contents.
In the will it was her wish that their children only receive a token gesture (5 living children), and the estate to then be equally divided up amongst the 10 grandchildren. My Uncle A is executor. Unfortuately my Uncle B then wrote to Uncle A stating that he was unhappy with the Will and
felt he was owed expenses for caring for my grandma, and loss of earnings from the past couple of years. (I have never know him to have a proper job in 30 years.)
He claims he was her offical carer but did not claim carers allowance (Or care for her properly !). He did not live with her as is based down south but used to pop up at irregular intervals and stay with her or at friends houses.
The Executor stated that he could not be recompensated in this way (he did not have receipts etc) so Uncle B has now formally Contested the Will.
Uncle A has now conveniently disappeared and no one knows what is happening.

My questions would be do you have to be legally represented to Contest a Will, or could anyone just formally write to try and do it himself to try his luck (he is very clever and manipulative)?
Does the Executor have a right to involove the beneficiaries with any out of court settlement decisions?
The Executor has now known for 2 weeks that the Will has been contested, but not appraised anyone. I only found out as I was chasing the cheque which was supposed to have been sent out on Dec.
If we cannot get any infomation from the Executor, how extreme would it be to say that he has failed to do his duties. (We are a happy family, but not that close the our uncles, mainly as neither live in the area and do not have children. Uncle A is financailly very comfortalbe, Uncle B is not)

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The Contestor raising the caveat & Executor will be encouraged to mediate (financial agreement) to drop the caveat, for probate. The Executor is obliged to inform beneficiaries to protect himself.

No agreement as a/m will necessitate Court proceedings to settle. Usually loser pays all costs.
Any co-habitee or any child of the deceased who considers a will to be unfair can make a claim under the provisions of the Inheritance (Provision for Families and Dependants) Act 1975. The claim has to be filed within 6 months of the issue of the Grant of Probate / Letters of Administration. If this is likely to happen the Executor is well-advised to limit distributions to others until the 6 months has passed. Any claim has to show that the claimant had a dependency on the deceased and purely based on what you said, it sounds to have only limited chance of success.
This 6 months period and the recent formal claim is perhaps why the uncle appears to be limiting any further payments - though he perhaps owes the beneficiaries an explanation.
It is the duty of the Executor to carry out the wishes expressed in the proven will, or potentially suffer a claim from the beneficiaries.
If it is agreed by all Beneficiaries to vary the terms of the will, the Executor can apply to the courts for a Deed of Variation. But this doesn't sound like this is agreed by all.
I can't comment on whether an individual (Uncle B) can represent themselves, but the Executor is very unlikely to want to represent the Estate himself - unless he is a solicitor himself - so what is likely to happen is that some of the estate will be gobbled up in legal expenses defending the claim.
Families, eh? It would have been so much better for this proposed will to have been discussed openly with the 5 children beforehand during the lifetime of the deceased.
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thank you - this really clarifies what I thought. Sadly the 5 children were ok with the Will. It is only now that Uncle b has decided to change his mind... what a palaver !!

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Grounds to contest a will

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