Q: My widowed mother passed away recently. We had a good relationship even though I emigrated to Canada many years ago. I recently returned to live in the UK to help my aunt nurse my mother who was suffering from Dementia. I am adopted and my aunt has always resented this. I have now discovered that, whilst living with my aunt, my mother made a new Will, excluding me and benefitting my aunt and cousins. What can I do?
A: The first step is to immediately appoint a solicitor to advise you on the options available to challenge the Will. It is clear that there are circumstances from your knowledge which give rise to the matter being investigated. The fact that your mother may have been suffering from Dementia does not preclude the possibility that she has executed a valid Will, but the circumstances that you have described give rise to suspicion which, quite rightly, you are entitled to investigate.
The circumstances surrounding the creation and execution of the Will should be fully investigated - if your mother lacked the requisite mental capacity, or was acting under duress at the time the Will was signed, then it may be possible to question its validity. In addition, you may also have a separate claim under the Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975 - the status of your adoption makes no difference in this regard - your rights to bring a claim in the estate are the same as though you were a child of the whole blood.
Time is of the essence in this situation. You should take advice from a suitably qualified solicitor to investigate the matter as quickly as possible and to enable that practitioner to take steps to prevent your late mother's estate from being administered.