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Contested Wills

In a world with increasingly more complex and difficult family scenarios, frequently nowadays questions are being raised concerning the validity and contents of a Will.

Concerns are often raised by beneficiaries unhappy about the actions or decisions of executors and/or trustees or by family members concerned over the wellbeing of elderly relatives. 

Our Probate and Litigation Teams work closely together to provide you with the best advice on:

  • Potentially invalid, incomplete, disputed or ambiguous Wills
  • Contentious estates and inheritance disputes, and
  • Disputes between trustees and/or beneficiaries of trusts

Challenging A Will

Whilst the Law gives freedom to the maker of a will to choose who can benefit from their estate even if the results may appear unjust, you can challenge a will: 

  • If the will itself is invalid
  • If the will fails to makes reasonable provision for you

Validity Of Will

When making a will, strict procedural steps must be complied with and any breach can make a will invalid. For example if the will maker;

  • Does not sign in the presence of 2 witnesses
  • Lacks mental capacity
  • Did not know or approve the contents of the Will
  • Was subject to undue influence by other family members or third parties

Reasonable Financial Provision

Even if a Will is valid, it can be challenged under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975 if it has failed to make reasonable financial provision.

Claims can be made by spouses, civil partners, children and anyone financially dependent on the deceased

If a challenge under the Act is successful the court will re-write the will to make reasonable provision for the person claiming taking into account various factors including:

  • Financial needs and resources of all applicants and beneficiaries
  • Obligations that the deceased had to the applicant
  • The size and nature of estate
  • Any disabilities of the applicant

Any other matter which may be relevant such as conduct of the parties and the express intentions of the will maker

Time Limits

Claims under the Inheritance Act must be started at court within 6 months from the date of the grant of representation.  Although there is no time limit to challenge the validity of a will best practice is to bring the challenge before a grant of representation is obtained.

Funding & Advice

Our expert team of contentious probate lawyers can advise you on the variety of methods to fund claims including "no win no fee” agreements.

We offer a FREE initial consultation to assess the viability of your claim and advise on the process and funding options

Contact Us Today

If you believe you have grounds to challenge a Will or even if you are unsure of your options why not arrange your free initial meeting by contacting Paul Walshe at paul.walshe@awdrys.co.uk or call 01793 853200.

Factsheets

Contested Wills