In certain circumstances it is possible to go about challenging a will in Ireland. Generally, the law around wills is generally not a contentious area. Sometimes however circumstances arise where a person believes that he/she has not been treated justly in the will or probate process. There are, with the help of their solicitor, options open to such a person.
Should the client be a child of the deceased he/she may be entitled to take an action under Section 117 of the Succession Act whereby a child, who believes that proper provision has not been made in the will for him/herself may take an action to remedy the situation.
Generally the test which the court will apply is whether the deceased failed in their “moral duty” to provide for the child in the will. When deciding what the “moral duty” is the court may consider several factors including:
• The amount left in the will to the child;
• The means of the deceased;
• The age of the child and financial prospects of that child;
• The circumstances of the other children.
Probate actions may be brought in either the Circuit Court or High Court. The choice of court depends on the value of the property. The court proceedings are held in camera which means that only those involved in the case are allowed to be in the Court at the time of hearing. This rule is designed to protect their privacy of the parties.
Challenging a will can be by the very nature of the action a difficult process. Very often a family member will be on the other side of the challenge. It is therefore advisable to seek legal advice prior to making a decision as to how to proceed.
TIP: Time is of the essence- There is a strict 6 month limit for a child of the deceased to issuing proceedings. This 6 month time-limit generally cannot be extended.
If you are considering challenging a will or if you have a general legal query; contact us to arrange a consultation.