Inheriting from a loved one can be a comforting experience, but what happens if you suspect the will doesn’t reflect their true wishes? Two key concepts come into play: testamentary capacity and undue influence. Understanding these legal terms is crucial for anyone in Cardiff concerned about the validity of a will.

Testamentary Capacity: Does the Testator Have Sound Mind?

A will can only be valid if the person who created it (the testator) possessed the necessary mental ability. This is assessed using the Banks v Goodfellow (1870) test. Here’s what the testator must understand:

  • The Nature and Consequences of a Will: They must grasp that they are creating a legal document distributing their assets after death.
  • The Extent of Their Estate: They should have a general idea of what they own and its approximate value.
  • Potential Beneficiaries: This includes understanding who might have a reasonable expectation to inherit, such as close family members.
  • Freedom from Delusions: Their decisions about the will shouldn’t be influenced by irrational beliefs.

Undue Influence: Coercion that Can Invalidate a Will

Undue influence occurs when someone pressures or manipulates the testator into changing their will to benefit themselves. This can happen through:

  • Isolation: Cutting off the testator from family and friends.
  • Sudden Changes to the Will: Unexplained revisions that benefit the influencer.
  • Suspicious Presence at Signing: The influencer being present during the signing without prior involvement.
  • Vulnerability: Exploiting the testator’s dependence or weakened state.

Challenging a Will: When to Seek Legal Help

If you suspect undue influence and believe a will doesn’t reflect the testator’s true wishes, contesting it might be necessary. However, the burden of proof falls on you, the challenger. This can be a complex process, especially since undue influence is often covert.

Clodes Solicitors: Your Cardiff Experts in Wills and Estates

At Clodes Solicitors in Cardiff, our experienced legal team can guide you through the intricacies of will disputes. We understand the emotional and legal complexities involved and will work diligently to protect your inheritance rights.

Contact Clodes Solicitors Today

Don’t leave your inheritance to chance. If you have concerns about a will’s validity in Cardiff, contact Clodes Solicitors today.

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