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Clare, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 35071
Experience:  I have been a solicitor in High Street Practice since 1985 with a wide general experience.
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Do the Courts in the UK define "invalid" and "fraud" as

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Do the Courts in the UK define "invalid" and "fraud" as being separate? If a Will has been witnessed incorrectly is that defined as invalid or fraud? Once Probate has been granted is there a time limit for someone to make a claim if the Will is deemed to be invalid? I understand that there is no time limit on making a claim against a perceived fraudulent Will but what is the difference between an invalid or a fraudulent Will? Or is there no difference? If the Court has granted Probate how does one contest a Will if they are claiming the Wil is invalid or fraudulent?
Thank you.

Thank you for your question

My name is ***** ***** I shall do my best to help you

Yes these are two separate matters.

A Will can be invalid if it was not signed correctly - and this can include a case where the Will was not properly witnessed.

This is not a matter of fraud. Fraud would be where the Will was not signed by the Testator - or alterations were made after the Will was signed.

Once Probate has been granted then ONLY a challenge based on Fraud can succeed

You can read more here

Please ask if you need further details

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thank you. As I suspected but nice to receive confirmation. Probate has been granted and the funds were distributed to the beneficiary (2nd Person) who died just before the First Estate was settled. I am a beneficiary of the 2nd Person's estate but a son ( who was left out of the first persons Estate) is now claiming fraud but he is claiming the Will was not witnessed correctly. This was the basis of my original question to you. He placed a caveat on the First Person's estate then withdrew it, Probate was granted on the First Persons estate and funds were eventually distributed. Can this son still make a claim on the 2nd Persons estate to claw back funds he believes he is entitled to under the First Persons estate using the "fraud" card? Probate was granted on the 2nd Persons estate on 15/1/16. Thank you.

What is he actually saying was wrong with the way that it was witnessed?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Hello Clare,
The son is claiming the Will of the First Person was signed without both witnesses being present. We know the Will was signed out of the Solicitors office by Testatrix and the son is claiming she signed it in front of one witness only but the Will does have two witnesses who signed it correctly. This Will was lodged and filed and Probate was granted after the son received legal advice and he removed the Caveat.
Thank you, Rosie.

Were the witnesses spoken to at all?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I am only aware that the solicitors handling the Estate files have written to the witnesses and have also written to the solicitors of the First Person who drew up the Will. The Solicors who drew up the Will are not handing anything over, no surprises there, and as far as I am aware the Solicitors for the Estate have not yet heard back from the witnesses. I personally believe this was a risky move by the solicitors to write to the witnesses, if, as you say, the son can now only claim fraud would it not have been better to stay silent?

They do still have to investigate the matter in case the Will is indeed invalid.

However if the Will is invalid if the money has already been distributed if there is no fraud then it cannot necessarily be recovered (sorry I should have made that clear)

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
if by some very far fetched chance that it was discovered there was fraud is it possible that the beneficiaries have to reimburse the son any funds awarded to him by the courts? Funds distributed to the beneficiaries have already been spent!! Why is there no time limit on fraud when contesting a Will, it's very distressing to think that this son could keep popping up every year threatening to claim, there will be no peace from this man.

No not at all.

Unless the beneficiaries are also the people who committed the fraud then they are not at risk!

Clare and 3 other Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thank you for your assistance you have eased our minds! Rosie

You are most welcome I hope all goes well