Contesting a Will
Will disputes have become more prolific in recent years, partly due to the increase in complex family arrangements and the increase in property values.
There are broadly speaking two types of claim that may arise:
- First, a disappointed beneficiary may be able to challenge the validity of the Will.
- Second, even if the Will is valid a disappointed beneficiary may be able to bring a claim if the Will does not make a “reasonable financial provision” for them, which can give rise to a claim under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependents) Act 1975.
This section deals with the first of these two basis of challenge. For information regarding claims under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependents) Act 1975 please follow this link.
There are several grounds upon which the validity of a Will can be challenged. These grounds are as follows:
- The Will may not comply with the necessary formalities;
- There may be mistakes in the Will;
- The person making the Will (the “testator”) may not have had had “testamentary capacity” when the Will was made;
- The testator may not have known or approved of the terms of the Will. In other words, they may have signed the Will but not understood what they were signing.
- The testator may have been subject to undue influence or coercion and did not therefore act under their own free will;
- The Will may be a forgery;
If a validity challenge is successful, the Deceased’s previous Will takes effect or, in the event that there was no prior Will, the intestacy rules will apply.
Our Dispute Resolution team have extensive experience in both pursuing and defending all types of validity challenge and regularly act for both Claimants and Estates in the High Court. We will aim to identify your goals and the most effective ways of achieving your aims at the outset of your case. We will try to resolve your case without the need for court proceedings wherever possible and we are skilled in all forms of Alternative Dispute Resolution (including mediation).