I am often approached with matters which involve a deceased person having changed their will suddenly before their passing.
A claim of suspicious circumstances surrounding the execution of a will can sometimes be made in such a situation. Careful consideration is needed and there must be a legitimate concern relating to the purported will.
Some examples of what is a ‘suspicious circumstance’ include:
The Court needs to be satisfied that there were circumstances surrounding the execution of the will which excite suspicion that the will does not reflect the intentions of the deceased person.
Where such circumstances exist, it is important that the concerns are raised before probate is granted.
If suspicious circumstances surrounding the execution of a will exist, it will be incumbent upon the person seeking probate of the will, to remove any suspicion.
If a beneficiary has participated in the preparation of a will, that beneficiary will need to prove the honesty of the transaction.
It is possible for a Court to hold that the rest of a will is valid, save for the provision to suspect person. The Court can omit an “unrighteous” provision.
For advice in relation to suspicious circumstances surrounding the execution of a will, and whether you may have a basis for such a claim, please do not hesitate to contact me.