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Ask Buachaill Your Own Question
Buachaill, Lawyer
Category: Republic of Ireland Law
Satisfied Customers: 10528
Experience:  Barrister 17 years experience
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Does a final will have to be shown to disgruntled family

Customer Question

Does a final will have to be shown to disgruntled family members. i suspect they are trying to take a challenge to the will so that they can use an earlier will which names different executors and different residuary legatees
JA: What state are you in? It matters because laws vary by location. Has anything been filed or reported?
Customer: rep or ire
JA: Anything else you want the lawyer to know before I connect you?
Customer: caveat possibly filed in probate office however no legal proceedings yet taken. death only occured earlier this year and information is being gathered at present
Submitted: 10 months ago.
Category: Republic of Ireland Law
Customer: replied 10 months ago.
a will was executed a few days prior to death of the testator. there is no issue with capacity or undue influence as full instructions were taken and attendances were in private. the request to disclose the will is for fact find for the disgruntled family siblings who are no longer mentioned in a residuary clause however they are getting the bequests as set out in the will, and as was set out in a previous will
Expert:  Buachaill replied 10 months ago.

1. Dear Customer, it is only the residuary legatee which has an automatic right to a copy of the will. If there are more than one residuary legatee, then each of the residuary legatees is entitled to a copy of the will. Otherwise, if there are disgruntled children, the child must be told whether they are a beneficiary under the will. Otherwise, anyone else will have to wait until the will is admitted to probate, when it becomes a public document and can be examined in the Probate Office when it has been admitted to probate.

Expert:  Buachaill replied 10 months ago.

2. However, I would suggest that if you are the executor, that you arrange a reading of the will. This is not mandatory under law. However, it has the effect of making everyone aware of what the contents of the will are. Then whoever wishes, can take whatever action they may wish. There is little point in attempting to stave off a challenge to the will by restricting information. This only has the effect of encouraging unmeritorious claims as rumour and innuendo abount.

Expert:  Buachaill replied 10 months ago.

3. Be aware that potential challenges to a will are limited. Unless there is something wrong with the execution of the will, which there was not in this instance, challenges can only arise in relation to the distribution of gifts under the will. So, here, the disgruntled family members have a narrow range of potential challenges. Once they get legal advice, they will realise this. So, I would suggest you request that these people seek legal advice, as this dampens down the range of potential challenges.

Expert:  Buachaill replied 10 months ago.

4. Please Accept or Rate the answer as unless you Accept or Rate the answer your Expert will receive no payment for answering your question.

Customer: replied 10 months ago.
Surely the probate office does not allow caveats to be accepted as valid unless valid legal grounds exist? as opposed to disgruntled children who have already been provided for during their lifetime, simply looking for another piece of the pie, and expect the estate to pay for their frivolous challenge.
Expert:  Buachaill replied 10 months ago.

5. You should be aware that there is no legal pre-requisite for lodging a caveat. Anyone can enter a caveat without showing any proper legal grounds. The onus is then on the executor to apply to strike out the caveat. Then the court adjudicates upon the validity of the caveat. So, if a caveat has been lodged, you will have to instruct a solicitor and barrister to bring an action to strike it out. Be aware that the executor is allowed to take his legal costs from the estate, if the court does not award them against the losing party.

Expert:  Buachaill replied 10 months ago.

6. Ultimately, the court will award costs on the basis of whether the court considers it was proper to enter a caveat against the will. Here, the issue of the claimants being disgruntled children should be raised. Be aware that their bequest from the will can be used to discharge legal costs if they are awarded against them.