Challenging the validity of a will

Challenging the validity of a will

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.

Watch the video below or read on for more information. If you would prefer to discuss your situation with us, please call on 01242 514000 or email .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

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 deceased 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 deceased  have the mental capacity to make a will?

To have mental capacity to make a will, a person must fulfil a number of 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 testator 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.   

Why choose Willans?

For you to achieve the best possible outcome, you’ll need people with the best possible credentials and expertise.

Our Legal 500-rated team includes members of STEP (Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners) and ACTAPS (the Association of Contentious Trust and Probate Specialists), experts who are, by definition, the most experienced and senior practitioners in the field of trusts and estates and related disputes.

Independent legal guide The Legal 500 says in their 2018 edition that our contentious probate team is “excellent in all aspects: almost immediate response times, with in-depth knowledge and experience.”

Legal awards and credentials aside, we’re a friendly team and will always explain things to you in a clear and practical way, and keep you updated on what’s happening with your case in a timely way.

Respecting relationships

Every case is different: while some require a robust approach, disputes of this sort are often extremely sensitive, many involving family relationships. Our experienced lawyers approach matters in an understanding, practical and sympathetic way.

An eye to cost

The court's approach to costs in cases of this type tends to differ from other litigation. We do everything possible to protect your position, ensuring that cases are resolved taking account of costs and the value of the estate.

Early resolution

We will often recommend the use of alternative dispute resolution (ADR) as an effective means of achieving an early resolution. In cases of this nature, opposing parties will often resist settling until the alternative is made very clear to them. We have a tremendous success rate with ADR and have two accredited mediators in our team.


For advice, please call on 01242 514000 or email .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

Back to top

Contact us

Please call 01242 514000 or contact one of the lawyers in our inheritance and trust disputes team:

Paul Gordon LLB

Rachel Sugden LLB (Hons)

Nick Southwell BA (Hons)

Katie Duthie LLB (Hons)

Paul Gordon

Katie Duthie

"Willans LLP is ‘excellent in all aspects: almost immediate response times, with in-depth knowledge and experience.'"

Nick Southwell