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How to challenge a will

A document such as a will is a written statement of will in which a citizen determines which of his friends or relatives the property will be transferred after his death. The testator can bequeath his property to any person, regardless of kinship. And often close relatives of the deceased remain without inheritance.

It’s one thing if this was the will of your beloved aunt regarding her apartment, executed in accordance with the law in perfect health, the relatives knew about it and took it for granted, but it’s another when there are not quite clear and legal actions.

The ability to challenge a will, as they say in everyday life, is fully or partially provided for in art. 1257 of the Civil Code of Ukraine (GKU) if there are grounds for its invalidity provided there. But if at the time of its compilation all the requirements prescribed by law were met, then the chances of successfully challenging a will are significantly reduced.

That is, there is an opportunity, but there must be appropriate grounds for this, which, when studying your situation, can be detected by a qualified lawyer or lawyer.

Who can challenge the will?

Below we will clarify who can challenge the will after the death of the testator. Some categories of citizens whose rights and interests have been violated may challenge a will in court. The laws of Ukraine do not precisely determine who belongs to these categories, but only a person can be recognized as an interested person whose inheritance rights have been violated in connection with the preparation of a specific will.

These may be:

  • • Law heirs who are relatives of the deceased or who lived with him.
  • • By will - they can be any citizens, persons indicated in previous wills, who, when drawing up a new one, have lost legal force.
  • • Persons entitled to a mandatory share in the inheritance
  • • Recipients (those in whose favor a testament was made).

Many do not know that there is also the concept of an obligatory share of inheritance. What does this mean? There is a part that under any circumstances will be inherited by certain categories of relatives, regardless of what is written in the will, namely:

  • • minor and minor children of the testator;
  • • over-the-age children, but only if they are disabled (are disabled people of the first or second group);
  • • disabled widow or widower;
  • • disabled parents.

The Civil Code of Ukraine in Art. 1241 expressly indicates that in any case, the above persons shall inherit at least 50% of the share that they would have been entitled to if the testament did not even exist.

Grounds for contesting

Cases of contesting a will after the death of a testator are quite common in Ukraine, so the question often asked by people about whether it is possible to dispute is, in fact, not worth it. Naturally possible, but this requires evidence since suing without them is a futile undertaking.

Below we will examine the grounds for contesting the will. We list the main ones:

      
  1. 1. The will of the deceased was not free or deliberate (framed under the influence of violent acts or psychological pressure, the presence of mental deviations from the person who made the will; serious illness or incapacity at the time of completing the documentation, state of alcoholic or other intoxication, etc.);
  2.   
  3. 2. Compiled by a person who does not have the right to do this (signing a document that does not have legal rights to it, for example, by one of the spouses without the consent of the other, compiling it by proxy by another person, falsifying the signature, the will itself is called into question - the fact of writing, the text and other);
  4.   
  5. 3. The form (date, signature, paperwork without regard to regulatory requirements, errors, etc.);
  6.   
  7. 4. The certification procedure has been violated (not certified by a notary, the witness who was mentioned in the document, in fact, was not present at the time of signing, did not perform certain actions and can confirm this in court);
  8.   
  9. 5. The will did not reflect the heirs entitled to the mandatory part.

In order for the court to have grounds to declare the document invalid, the interested parties together with the lawyer must collect and provide evidence of these facts. In the process of challenging the will, psychiatric examinations, testimonies, medical certificates and opinions may be required.

Separately, it is necessary to note a very common misconception that a will in favor of a non-relative of the deceased may be the reason for invalidating it. The ability to appoint anyone as his heirs, including those who are not family members or relatives, is provided for in Part 1 of Art. 1235 GKU. Therefore, you can make a will for almost anyone.

A little advice. If you have such relatives, possibly disabled or not quite adequate, and you suspect that fraudulent actions are possible regarding them, try to collect all kinds of certificates and testimonies in advance.

Challenges

Given that the legal consequences of a will only occur after the death of the testator, it can be challenged after the death of the last through filing a lawsuit.

And in accordance with Art. Art. 256, 257, 261 of the Civil Code of Ukraine the contestation of a will is possible during the period of general limitation of actions of 3 years or 3 years from the day when the person found out or could learn about the violation of his right or about the person who violated it. The terms of appeal may be restored by the court if there are good reasons.

Summary. If you can challenge the will in court, then according to Part 4 of Art. 1257 of the Civil Code, the heir who was indicated in the will receives the right to receive an inheritance on a common basis or does not receive it at all. But success and outcome depends on many factors, circumstances, evidence and a qualified lawyer.

Contact our law firm and we will help you in such a difficult matter.

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