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Challenging the validity of a will

02 August 2019

If you think someone’s will may not be legally valid, we can help you to challenge it

If you suspect a will is invalid, and you would like to challenge it on this basis, we can help you to bring or defend claims.

There are many ways in which the validity of a will can be challenged, and some of these are explored below.

Alternatively, if the will is valid, but you feel that you’ve been left out, treated unfairly or have not been properly provided for, you might be able to make a claim under the Inheritance Act 1975.

Has the will been properly executed?

There are strict rules governing the signature of wills. It is not unusual for the person making the will, and their witnesses, to get this wrong.

  • Has the will been altered or forged?

From time to time we deal with cases where there is a suspicion that the will has been altered or forged in some way. For example, the handwriting or signature on the will might be different from that of the person who was supposed to have made it.

  • Was the person under pressure (put under undue influence) to make the will?

The courts understand that sometimes vulnerable people are pressurised into making a will on terms which they are not happy with.

  • Did the person have the mental capacity to make a will?

To have mental capacity to make a will, a person must fulfil several different criteria. For example, they’ll need to understand what they’re doing, and if they have an illness that prevents them from thinking rationally that can cause doubt about capacity.

  • Did the person have knowledge of and approve the contents of the will?

If there are any suspicious circumstances around how the will was made, then this may cast doubt over the validity of the will, and whether a court would find that the deceased could have known and approved the contents. An example of this would be if one of the major beneficiaries played a big part in arranging or even writing the will themselves.

The right people by your side

We know that challenging someone’s will can be an emotional experience for many. So we handle each case with sensitivity and care, preserving relationships wherever we can and striving for an early resolution.

We also know what it takes to successfully bring or defend a claim over the validity of a will.

We count members of STEP (Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners) and ACTAPS (the Association of Contentious Trust and Probate Specialists) among our highly-regarded team, and we’re rated for this specialism in independent legal guide The Legal 500 UK.

We're here to help

To talk to us about challenging the validity of someone’s will, please call on 01242 514000 or email paul.gordon@willans.co.uk.

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