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Contesting a will

A person is free to leave their assets to whomever they choose in their will, under the law of England & Wales, but there are a variety of circumstances in which you may have legitimate grounds for contesting a will:-

  • Capacity: If the deceased was unable to understand what they were doing when they made the will, it calls into question whether they had legal and mental capacity to create a valid will. This may include situations when the deceased was suffering from dementia, a serious illness, or any other incapacity that would impact their ability to understand what they were doing when creating the will.
  • Undue influence: A will should express the wishes of the person making the will, rather than someone else’s wishes. An example of where concern may arise is where a parent has made provision for all children equally in a will. Then, after the heavy involvement of one child, has created another will leaving the entirety of their assets to that child to the exclusion of the others.
  • Reasonable provision: If someone has been cut out of a will entirely or received a much smaller inheritance than was reasonable, there may be a ground to challenge the will if it was objectively reasonable for financial provision to have been made for that person (see our “Inheritance Act claims” page here).
  • Fraud / forgery: If the will has been fraudulently created or altered, this is of course a ground for challenge.
  • Other issues: For example, where a will has not complied with formal legal requirements, contains errors such that it does not sufficiently explain what the testator wanted to be done.

The above are common issues when a will is disputed, but are by no means exhaustive.

If you have a question regarding how to contest a will or queries in relation to what you can do if the deceased died without a will, please contact our specialist inheritance law solicitors on 020 7183 8950, by email, or by filling in our contact form for an initial discussion.


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