Q: My great aunt told my sister and I that we would get everything when she died. However it now transpires that she left her entire estate to someone who we feel had been manipulating her for some time. We are concerned that she may not have known what she was doing when she made her Will, which is currently going through probate. Is there any way we can obtain a copy of the Will and challenge it?
A: Once a Will is proved at the Probate Registry and a Grant of Probate is issued allowing the Executors to carry out the deceased’s wishes, both Grant and Will are public documents and you may apply to the Probate Registry for copies. These documents will show the value of the Estate, to whom it has been left, the identity of the Executors and which Solicitors (if any) obtained the Probate.
If you think your aunt may have lacked capacity or been unduly influenced to make the Will, you will need to inform the Executors and also ascertain who drew up the Will. When you know who drew up the Will you should ask them why was the Will drafted as it was; how they came to take instructions; whether they were aware of any medical history or signs at the time that may have affected your aunt’s mental capacity? You should also ask who was present when she gave her instructions and executed the Will. If you can access copies of previous Wills that indicate completely different wishes you can ask what signs indicated she fully understood the nature and extent of the terms contained within her last Will.
To challenge a Will in Court you have only six months from the date Probate is granted, so you should take advice from Solicitors as soon as possible.