Contesting a Will FAQs
Some common questions – please contact us to discuss your circumstances.
Who can contest a Will?
You may be able to contest a Will or bring a claim if you:
- were named as a beneficiary in a previous Will;
- are the spouse/civil partner, former spouse/civil partner, cohabitee, child, stepchild or someone who was financially dependant on the person who has died;
- were promised an inheritance; and/or
- were named in a draft Will that was never signed.
Please note that this is not an exclusive list.
What are the grounds for contesting a Will?
A Will can be contested on any of the following grounds:
- Lack of testamentary capacity (e.g. where the person who made the Will did not have the mental capacity to understand the decisions they were making)
- Undue influence (where the person making the Will was essentially forced into making their Will in particular terms)
- Want of knowledge and approval (where the person making the Will did not know and approve its contents)
- Lack of due execution (where the strict legal requirements for signing a Will have not been complied with)
- Forgery (e.g. where one of the signatures on the Will is fake)
- Fraudulent calumny (e.g. where someone has told the person making a Will lies about another person and this has changed the contents of the Will)
Other related claims include those under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975 and proprietary estoppel claims.
What is the time limit to contest a Will?
This depends on the nature of the claim but can be as little as six months from the date of the grant of probate. We, therefore, recommend contacting us as soon as possible.
How much does it cost to contest or defend a Will?
This varies dramatically from case to case and depending on whether it is possible to reach a settlement out of Court. We have a range of payment options available and would be happy to discuss these if you contact us.
Can I contest a Will after the Grant of Probate has been issued?
Yes, but we recommend taking action as quickly as possible.
I have not seen a copy of the Will but I do not think I have been included. How can I get a copy?
Until a Will is admitted to probate, only the executors are legally entitled to see it. After it has been admitted to probate, it becomes a public document and should be available to download from the government website.
If the Will has not been admitted to probate, it might still be worth approaching the executors or the solicitors who prepared the Will in case they are willing to provide a copy to you.
Can I bring a claim where someone died without a Will?
You may be able to bring a claim in these circumstances; please contact us to discuss your situation.
My relative is still alive but I do not think I will benefit from their Will. What can I do?
A Will has no effect until a person dies, therefore it is not possible to challenge a Will until that time.
If you are concerned about whether a Will is valid, it may be worth speaking to them to understand their decision and check whether they are happy with it. If they are not, they may wish to update their Will. If they lack the capacity to do that (e.g. if they are suffering from dementia), please contact us about the possibility of applying for a statutory Will.