In many relationships, partners appoint each other as executors in their respective Wills.
However, if one of those partners dies and the surviving partner is unhappy with what they have been left in the deceased partner’s Will, the surviving partner may look at contesting or challenging their deceased partner’s Will (even if this will be at the expense of the couple’s children).
In my experience, many partners challenging their spouse’s Will in these circumstances, will tell the children from the relationship that there is no need for them to also challenge their deceased parent’s Will as everything from the surviving parent will eventually be left to them.
Unfortunately, there is no guarantee that the surviving parent will make good on such promises.
As a result, if you have a parent that is contesting their deceased spouse’s Will, it is important that you obtain legal advice about your rights, and the consequences if you take no action and decide that you do not want to contest the Will.
Failing to contest the Will could have the following consequences:
- Your surviving parent may receive the entire Estate of your deceased parent;
- You and your surviving siblings may receive nothing, or a minimal portion of your Deceased parent’s Estate;
- You will have to wait until your surviving parent chooses to give you part of your Deceased parent’s Estate, or alternatively, you may have to wait until the surviving parent passes away before seeing if you will benefit under the surviving parent’s Will.
- The surviving parent could, after receiving the Deceased spouse’s assets, distribute them as they wish, leaving nothing in your surviving parent’s Estate when they pass away. This would leave you and your siblings with nothing from your surviving parent’s Will when they eventually pass away.
Accordingly, it is important that you consider all of your options before letting a surviving parent contest a Will for their own benefit.
If you would like to discuss the above, or have any general queries regarding contesting the Will or challenging the estate, please do not hesitate to contact me.