Kith & Kin

When can you contest a will?

woman in business suit with outstretched hand to contest a will

Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash

If you believe that a loved one’s will should not be enforced, you can ask the court to invalidate it. However, challenging the validity of a will is an arduous process, so the decision should not be taken lightly.

In order for you to be able to contest a will, you should have valid legal grounds to do so. Knowing the requirements for a valid will allow you to know when can a will be contested.

Here are 5 instances wherein you can contest a will.

1. The will does not follow applicable laws

If a will does not follow proper legal formalities, then it should not be binding. Will writing in Singapore for example, requires that the testator (the person who is writing a will) must sign it in the presence of two or more witnesses. If such formality is not complied with, you can dispute the validity of the will.

Another scenario could be when the deceased failed to provide for his dependents. According to Singapore’s Inheritance (Family Provision) Act, if the will of a testator fails to provide for the testator’s dependents, such as their spouse and/or children, the will may be partially or fully disregarded in order to protect the wellbeing of testator’s dependents.

This protection includes all legitimate children as well as legally adopted children pursuant to a court order obtained in Singapore, Malaysia and Brunei.

This first reason happens most often in cases where the testator may have decided to personally write their will after conducting a search on ‘write my will’ or  ‘how to write my own will’.  While it is perfectly acceptable to do your own will without a lawyer, it is best to be mindful of your state’s legal will writing requirements as well.

2. The will was written when the testator was of unsound mind

If the deceased lacked the mental capacity to sign a will when it was written, then the will is not valid.

A convincing way to prove this is a doctor’s visit or adjudication of mental incapacity within days of the will writing. This timeframe is especially important to determine when can a will be contested.

If this assessment not available, the testimony of the witnesses becomes crucial in these cases.

3. The will was obtained through fraud

Fraud, like mental incapacity, can be difficult to prove in court. So when can a will be contested on these grounds?

In cases wherein the testator did not mean to write the will, but was tricked into doing so, the will should not be enforceable. If you will contest a will on these grounds, you should be prepared to prove that fraud occurred at the time the will was written.

It could be the deceased was not aware of what he was signing, or was given the impression that it was a different document. Since the testator will not be able to explain what he thought he was signing, the testimonies of the witnesses also become crucial in these instances.

4. The will was created under duress

Will writing should be done without coercion and undue influence. If the deceased was not acting out of his own volition when he wrote the will, then it should be invalid.

Like most of the other grounds, this reason is hard to prove, as there have been cases wherein threats and verbal abuse were not deemed enough to establish undue influence.

5. The will was not written by the deceased or is not the most recent will

If you believe that the will was not created by the deceased, or that they have since updated their will, then you can challenge the validity of the will.

Will writing entails several requirements and formalities in order to protect the testator and their beneficiaries. If you are wondering when can a will be contested, then these are the cases wherein loved ones can contest a will.  To contest a will is to make sure that the true intentions of the deceased are upheld by the courts.

Here at Kith & Kin Law Corporation, we offer expert advice on Will Writing Singapore with the conviction to provide the best approach based on our client’s personal circumstances and needs.

If you would like to contest a loved one’s will, get in touch with us today so we can assist you.