Five common will-related disputes that can be resolved easily

Last Updated at: Aug 26, 2022
Five common will-related disputes that can be resolved easily
The Indian Succession Act of 1925 usually governs matters related to succession in India. As per this Act, the creator (testator) of an Will is at liberty to change/alter the contents of the Will any time, as deemed fit to him/her. However, the Will can be enforced only after the death of the creator (the testator). The inheritor (legatee) will have no rights whatsoever over the Will until testator’s death.


Usually, disputes will arise whenever someone in the family passes away. The major cause of dispute will be due related to properties and the way it is divided among others. To keep the disagreement and disputes minimal, it is important to draft a will with legal assistance as it will prevent litigation in the future.

It is common for will disputes to arise when someone passes away, as the deceased’s properties must be divided. When the deceased has left a valid will in place, the disputes and disagreement will become minimum. However, in certain situations, even after instructions were left behind, disputes will still come up and in most cases they are unavoidable.

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The common will disputes, for instance, that usually arise can be prohibited by the deceased with cautious drafting of a will or can be resolved easily with the cooperation from beneficiaries and assistance from legal professionals.

Here are the most common five will disputes that can be resolved easily with court litigation.

Delay by executors

Executors are accountable for carrying out the wishes of the deceased and managing the probate process. Firstly, executors need to obtain a probate grant. There is no specific legal time limit in which the executor needs to take action. Here, the executor has to apply for the probate within 12 months after the death of the person whose wishes are to be carried out. If there is a delay by the executor for more than a year, those who expect to be named themselves as beneficiaries in the common will can apply to the court, seeking a deadline by which the executor is obliged to obtain a grant of probate.

Disagreement on the disposition of the estate property

A big question for many of the families is whether the family home can be sold or if it needs to be kept in the family. This is one of the most often heard disputes between families. Usually, the best solution for this problem is the beneficiaries who want to keep the household should buy out the interest of those who want to sell. The deceased may spell out that beneficiaries have an option to buy the household from the estate, but even if the will does not include this facility, an agreement can still be reached and concluded. When one or more beneficiaries will buy the household, the parties should consider looking out for an expert to conduct the valuation of the property to decide an appropriate amount to pay.

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Transfer of unauthorized assets

When a close family member or a child is given the power of attorney, named as executor or else put in charge of the assets of the deceased, other beneficiaries might argue that there have been distrustful unauthorized asset transfers by the individual in charge of managing money.  If the individual with power of attorney moved funds out of bank accounts, for instance, the other beneficiaries might argue that the transfer of assets was an unlawful and unfair reduction of the estate value. When there is a doubt of unauthorized transfers, forensic accountants can review records to control if property or money was inappropriately removed from the estate. If so, the assets can be scraped back. An executor who removed funds can also be removed as executor or allowed to probate the will with the understanding that he/she will receive a lesser share of the estate.

Accusations of undue influence

If a family member or a friend disproportionately influenced the deceased regarding the estate planning, a will formed under the duress or as a result of undue influence may be declared invalid and challengeable.  Close friends and family can challenge a will, but they need to prove a problem has occurred in its formation. If proof of duress or undue influence makes the will not valid, previous versions of a will might be applied. Otherwise, intestacy rules will dictate how the estate can be divided.

Pointing out problems in the will

Many individuals try to create a will themselves or use informal wills or will kits. These wills are more inclined to being challenged because they might not be clear about the wishes of the deceased. This could also be because they might not follow all the requirements related to creating a valid will. This can be generally avoided by consulting with a lawyer when the will is created. If there is no lawyer consultation and the deceased has passed away, then the court will decide on whether a will should be probated and on what the will means for beneficiaries.

Evading problems by forming a valid, inclusive will before death is one of the utmost gifts one can give to their loved ones. Consulting with a lawyer regarding the protection of assets and ensuring the wishes if they are respected can allow the family and friends to focus on dealing with sorrow rather than legal fights when one is passed away.

Most property disputes are common and lead to court litigation. If you want your future generations to be free from the same, then you need to have a will drafted well in advance. This way, you will be able to give the utmost gifts to your loved ones as you desired.

In spite of all this, a will can be deemed for many reasons like,

  1. When the will is not drafted properly or explained correctly or witnessed
  2. If any third party shows up with shreds of evidence of undue influences
  3. When the will writer was not mentally competent due to some health issues
  4. If the will is not properly executed
  5. When the executors are quite slow in administration
  6. If the will does not make any reasonable provisions for finance
  7. If the executor’s behaviour is incompatible


In short,

Will disputes are generally being faced by everyone, poor or rich. There are a few simple ways to give good solutions for will disputes:

  1. Consulting a lawyer when the will is written, makes us clear about all the conflicts or privileges in it. So it is always better to write the will by any professional will-writers.
  2. Mediation or negotiations are often suggested to minimize the effects of conflicts.
  3. Compiling all the possible evidence and facts related to the will
  4. Proper communication with our loved ones is the best way to avoid all the confusion about the will.
  5. The person writing the will must be open to it and the intentions must be clear
  6. Make sure the will is in a safer place
  7. The person writing the will must be sound-minded