Challenging a Will

Our specialist lawyers have expert experience and knowledge to advise you on the options available when you are challenging a Will.

When a Will is made, certain requirements must be met to ensure it is valid. If a Will is not made properly, this can lead to a person’s wishes remaining unfulfilled.

If a Will is properly made, it can still be challenged, but will not be invalid simply because its terms seem unfair or surprising.

Grounds for contesting a Will

Broadly speaking, a Will can be challenged for the following reasons:

  • Lack of testamentary capacity: the person making the Will did not have the capacity required to make it
  • Lack of knowledge and approval: the person making the Will did not know and approve the contents of the Will
  • Rectification: there is a clerical error which results in the Will not having the effect intended by the person who made the Will
  • Undue influence: the person making the Will was coerced into making the Will against their wishes
  • Failure to comply with the formalities set out within s9 of the Wills Act 1837 which requires the will to be in writing, signed and witnessed by two independent persons

Challenging a Will can be a daunting prospect. Our will, inheritance and trust dispute lawyers will be able to assess the merits of any potential claim to contest a Will. We will be able to advise you on the options available in a clear, sensitive and pragmatic way, whilst keeping you informed of the likely costs and providing a cost-benefit analysis of the case.

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FAQs

How do I contest a Will?

To contest a Will you will need to establish that there is a reason why it is invalid.

There are several different claims which can be made to contest a Will, so it is necessary to carry out investigative steps and collate evidence in support of your claim. For example, if you are making a claim against a Will on the basis that a person making a Will did not have capacity, you will need to review the testator’s medical records and the Will file for the Will in question (if there is one).

How do I make a claim on a person's estate?

There may be circumstances where a person’s Will or the provisions of intestacy (in circumstances where there is no Will) create a situation which leaves a person who feels they have a claim against the estate without any provision. In these circumstances, depending on whether you are an eligible applicant, it may be possible to make a claim under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975.

There are six categories of applicants which include spouses/civil partners and children. The test for spouses and civil partners is that the deceased did not make reasonable provision for them from their estate. The test for any other application is that the deceased did not make reasonable provision for their maintenance from the estate.

It is advisable to seek advice on the merits of your case. This is an area of fast-changing case law and the decision will be made based on a value judgment of the Judge.

How do I make a claim on an estate?

If you wish to make a claim on an estate, it is necessary to consider a number of factors under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants Act) 1975. It is advisable to seek advice on the merits of your case. This is an area of fast-changing case law and the decision will be made based on a value judgment of the Judge.

Our Experts

Lauren Day

Partner, Solicitor & Head of Dispute Resolution

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