On what grounds can you challenge a Will?

You can challenge a Will in the UK on the grounds of lack of testamentary capacity, undue influence or coercion, lack of knowledge and approval, under the Wills Act 1837, or because of fraud or forgery.

According to statistics from the UK Inheritance Dispute Report 2022, 25% of people disputed their inheritance because they claimed the deceased lacked testamentary capacity. It also showed that 1 in 4 people challenged their inheritance on the basis that the deceased was coerced to change their Will.


1. Lack of testamentary capacity

A person lacks testamentary capacity if they do not have the mental capacity to make a Will in the first place. For instance, if, at the time of making a Will, the deceased suffered some impairment of the mind or brain such as dementia or Alzheimers, they may not have had the mental capacity to make that Will and truly understand the terms and severity of doing so. 

Generally, anyone making a Will must:


2. Undue influence or coercion

Undue influence is another ground upon which you can challenge a Will. Undue influence is when the person making the Will, also called the testator, is forced, manipulated, threatened, or pressured into making or altering an existing Will against their desire.

To successfully challenge a Will on this particular ground, you must be able to prove to the satisfaction of the court that the actions of the testator were a direct result of some influence or coercion against their wish and not because of any other reasonable explanation. However, it is always difficult to prove this as the court usually demands a high standard of evidence for claims of undue influence.

3. Lack of knowledge and approval

Lack of knowledge and approval is when a person makes a Will without knowing, understanding, or approving its content. In most cases, a court will presume that the deceased knew the Will was made and approved the details of the Will and that the person had the required capacity.

However, you can challenge a Will if the deceased was blind, unwell, paralysed, or had some speech or hearing impairment at the time of making the Will. In addition, you can also challenge a Will under this ground if someone else signed it on the instruction of the person making the Will.


4. Wills Act 1837

Section 9 of the Wills Act 1837 sets out the legal requirements for a valid Will. By the provision of the Wills Act 1837, a Will is not valid unless:


Thus, you can challenge a Will if it does not meet one of the requirements mentioned above.


5. Forgery and fraud

You can challenge a Will if you can prove that the entire Will or the signature of the person who made the Will is forged. For instance, Mr. A wrote a Will in Mr. B's name and went ahead to forge Mr. B's signature on the document.

In addition, where a person, for example, a beneficiary, uses false information to influence the actions of a testator either to gain personal advantage or to cut another person from benefiting from the Will, this can also be challenged.

How Can GloverPriest Help?

At GloverPriest, we provide friendly and transparent legal advice. If you would like help drafting or contesting a Will, speak to one of our expert lawyers today. Complete our enquiry form. 


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