What to Do When Someone Dies Without a WillWhat to Do When Someone Dies Without a Will

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What to Do When Someone Dies Without a Will

Hello, my name is Kerry. Last year my mother died suddenly. When we went through her papers, we discovered she didn't have a will. My mother had been married to another man before she met my father and I had a couple of step brothers. Unfortunately, they turned up on our doorstep and started to demand that we hand over my mother's life savings to them and their family. I contacted a lawyer who specialises in probate law. She talked me through my case and explained how we would defend it in court. Thankfully, the matter was resolved to my satisfaction and I could start to grieve for my mother. I decided to start this blog to help others who have a contested will on their hands.

What Steps Should You Take If You Feel That You Have Been Defamed?

It's been said that every individual with access to the Internet is their own publisher these days. Certainly, a huge number of people have access to the main social media sites like Facebook, and regularly post updates to their news feed. Yet this access can often be a double-edged sword. Sometimes, people can use it with malicious intent. If you feel that somebody has published something that is particularly damaging to you, what do you need to consider before bringing any action?

What's Malicious?

When somebody publishes something about you that you feel is harmful, you have to prove that the other party had malicious intent in doing so. There are various different ways to consider what malicious means, but primarily it includes publishing with the specific intent to cause harm, attempting to gain some advantage over the other party through the publication, or expressing an opinion that is neither honest or genuine.


It will be necessary to prove that the defendant in the case does not have what is known as a "qualified privilege." This means that whoever receives the published material didn't have a clear interest in receiving the information contained.

Reasonable Cause

The plaintiff may choose to defend his position on the basis that they published with a reasonable cause. To prosecute successfully it will be necessary to convince the court that notwithstanding the reasons given, the underlying motivation to publish was nevertheless malicious.

Honest Opinion

Sometimes, people will rush to publish something without thinking it through and in fact not be fully convinced of their position. In this case, they can be accused of not having an honest opinion on the subject and therefore acting maliciously. You will need to try and prove that the defendant was too hasty in coming to a conclusion without gathering enough evidence to support the claim, or that they may have recognised that more evidence would probably counter their argument.

Public Concern

You may also come up against a defence that the information was published as it was a matter of "public concern." This can open up quite a wide-ranging definition, but once again attention needs to be focused on whether the motivation for the publication was inherently malicious or not.

Getting Direction

Navigating through the various lines of defence can be somewhat tricky and it's a good idea to select a solicitor who is experienced in defamation proceedings to help.