Contesting A Will

Phone Icon Request a Callback

Contesting A Will Solicitor

Contesting a Will involves legal processes and requires careful consideration of the specific circumstances. Anyone considering challenging a Will should seek legal advice to assess the validity of their claim and understand the likelihood of success based on the available evidence.

What reasons do you need to contest a Will?

There are several grounds in which you can challenge a Will. These grounds include lack of testamentary capacity, undue influence or coercion, lack of knowledge and approval, violations of the Wills Act 1837, and instances of fraud or forgery.

1. Lack of testamentary capacity

Lack of testamentary capacity refers to the mental capability of the person making the Will, known as the testator. If the testator lacks the mental capacity to understand the consequences of creating a Will or to comprehend the extent of their property, the Will may be contested. Mental disorders, such as dementia or Alzheimer's, could impair testamentary capacity.

2. Undue influence or coercion

Undue influence occurs when the testator is pressured, manipulated, threatened, or coerced into making or altering a Will against their true desires. Successfully challenging a Will on this ground requires providing evidence that the testator's actions were a result of improper influence. Proving undue influence can be challenging, as the court demands a high standard of evidence.

3. Lack of knowledge and approval

Lack of knowledge and approval arises when a person creates a Will without understanding or approving its content. While courts often presume that the deceased knew and approved the Will, challenges can be made if the testator was incapacitated, blind, unwell, paralyzed, or had impairments at the time of making the Will. Challenges can also occur if someone else signed the Will on the testator's instruction.

4. Wills Act 1837

The Wills Act 1837 sets out legal requirements for a valid Will. If a Will does not adhere to these requirements, it can be challenged. The provisions include the requirement for the Will to be in writing, signed by the testator or someone on their instruction, and witnessed by at least two individuals.

5. Forgery and fraud

A Will can be contested if it can be proven that the entire document or the testator's signature is forged. For instance, if someone writes a Will in another person's name and forges their signature, the Will is considered invalid. Additionally, challenges can be made if false information is used to influence the testator's decisions for personal gain or to exclude others from benefiting.

Can someone left out of a Will contest it?

You have the legal right to exclude anyone from your Will, as there is no mandatory requirement to leave assets to dependents or loved ones. Nevertheless, in specific circumstances, those excluded from a Will can take action. 

The Inheritance Act provides a framework for individuals who may reasonably expect an inheritance. If successful, a court may redistribute the estate to ensure the excluded individual receives a financial benefit according to their needs.

The Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975 outlines who is entitled to make a claim against a deceased's estate when excluded from a Will. Eligible claimants include:

To make a claim, court proceedings must commence within six months from the date of the Grant of Probate or Letters of Administration. Seeking legal advice is crucial to understanding whether a claim is viable and what documentation is required.

How can GloverPriest help?

Resolving disputes related to Wills and inheritance, especially after the passing of a loved one, can be both time-consuming and costly. Seeking expert legal advice early in the process is crucial, as it can facilitate the resolution of matters and potentially prevent the need for litigation and expensive court proceedings.

In terms of who is eligible to make an inheritance claim, only individuals falling within specific categories, such as spouses, partners, cohabitees, children, and dependants, are allowed to claim under the Inheritance Act.

If you find yourself entangled in a contentious probate dispute, whether as the executor of a disputed Will, a beneficiary, or someone excluded entirely, it is essential to seek experienced support, advice, and representation. We offer guidance on various aspects, including:

With extensive experience in all facets of Will and inheritance disputes, we can assess the merits of your claim, provide advice on funding options, and outline the associated risks.

Contact our Will dispute solicitors

At GloverPriest, we provide friendly and transparent legal advice. If you would like further advice on contesting or challenging a Will, please don’t hesitate to speak to one of our expert contract solicitors today. Complete our enquiry form.

Frequently Asked Questions

What do you need to prove when you contest a Will?

Determining "reasonable financial provision" is a subjective process that considers various factors. The court examines the claimant's current finances, daily expenses, and predicted future financial needs. Additionally, it evaluates the financial needs of other claimants, the beneficiaries within the Will, and any obligations the deceased had towards them. The court also considers the size of the estate, ensuring there is sufficient provision for all concerned parties.

Different criteria may apply to spouses and civil partners compared to others claiming under the Inheritance Act. For spouses and civil partners, the court considers potential provisions in a divorce settlement along with expected maintenance costs.


Review Solictiors Logo
Recommended Service

The Team

Jonathan Peck

Head of Litigation

View Profile Right Arrow

Roxanne Speed


View Profile Right Arrow

Get in Touch

We use cookies to improve your experience and to help us understand how you use our site. By using this site, you accept our use of cookies. Learn more x