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Wills, Trusts & Estate Disputes

Contesting A Will Solicitors

When a loved one dies, it’s important to know that their Will accurately reflects their wishes and is fair to those who expect to be provided for.

If you’ve been left out of a Will, haven’t been left as much as you need, or think the Will is wrong in some way, you might want to contest it.

Contesting a Will can feel daunting, but we have the expertise to support you through the process. Our solicitors could help you if:

  • The Will is invalid
  • The deceased made the Will at a time when they had lost mental capacity to manage their own affairs (known as lack of testamentary capacity)
  • They didn’t know or approve the contents of the Will
  • They were pressured or coerced when they were making it (known as undue influence)
  • The Will was forged
  • You want to contest a Statutory Will, made on behalf of someone who didn’t have the mental capacity to make their own.

We can also help you if you are the executor of an estate who is defending a contested Will.

Our Wills, Trusts and Estate Disputes team is the largest in the country and has offices across the UK. We can deal with disputes of all shapes and sizes, including those that involve international assets and rural property.

A disputes over a Will can be a sensitive matter between family and loved ones, and may be even more challenging when the estate is large or complex. We have the expertise to guide you through the process, and will always strive to resolve your dispute as smoothly as possible.

Call us today on 0345 604 4895 – or fill out our online form and we’ll call you back.

Offices in 14 locations across the country
24/7 advice on our Will Disputes Helpline
One of the largest Wills disputes teams in the UK
Specialist mediators available to resolve disputes out of court

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Contesting A Will - More Information
    • Who Can Contest A Will?
    • You may be able to contest a Will if you feel that you have been unfairly left out or that the Will doesn’t provide for you enough. This includes:

      • If you are named in the Will but received less than you expected
      • If you were financially dependent on the deceased and have not received enough in the Will
      • If you have been left out of the Will entirely
      • If the deceased promised to give you something before they died, but didn’t
      • If you are worried that the Will doesn’t accurately reflect the deceased’s wishes.

      Whatever your concerns about your loved one’s Will, our specialist team can advise how best to put things right. Call us today on 0345 604 4895 to find out more.

    • How Do I Contest A Will?
    • Making a claim will differ slightly depending on the circumstances of your dispute, but it’s usually made up of the same steps:

      1. Investigation

      We’ll examine the Will and any related documents (this might be property deeds, trust accounts, previous Wills made by the deceased).

      If relevant, we may also gather medical evidence about the deceased, to understand their condition when they made the Will. This would be particularly important in disputes over whether or not someone had mental capacity to make a Will.

      We might also get witness statements from those who knew the deceased, to better understand the full circumstances in which the Will was drawn up.

      These investigations will help us confirm whether you can make a claim, and what type of claim it will be.

      2. Mediation

      Most disputes can be settled by an alternative dispute resolution method, such as mediation. This means that you don’t have to go to court, which can be costly and time-consuming.

      Mediation typically takes place on one day, with a professionally trained mediator present as a neutral third party. The mediator’s role is to try to help you reach an agreement with the executor and the other beneficiaries.

      3. Court

      Some disputes cannot be resolved by mediation. If this is the case, the matter will have to be settled in court. This is rare, however – and if it does happen, we have the expertise to secure the best outcome for you.

      Whatever the circumstances of your dispute, we’ll support you every step of the way – and we’ll give you a clear idea at the start of how long we think it will take, and the outcome we think you can expect.

    • How Much Does It Cost?
    • The cost of a Will, trust or estate dispute varies from case to case, depending on how long it takes to resolve, the complexity of the circumstances, and whether or not you have to go to court.

      A dispute can be resolved at any time if the parties can come to an agreement, and they can then decide how to split the legal costs between them. However, if an agreement can’t be reached and the case has to go to court, the court will decide how the costs will be paid.

      As with other court proceedings, the unsuccessful party is usually the one who pays, and is likely to be liable for all costs. Many people think that the legal costs are paid out of the trust or estate, but this isn’t always the case.

      We’ll always try to resolve your dispute as quickly and amicably as possible. We’ll give you a clear idea at the start of how long we think it will take, and how much we think it will cost.

      Throughout the process we’ll keep you updated so you know exactly what’s going on. We understand this is a difficult time, and we’ll do everything to make the process a smooth one.

      Your first consultation with us is completely free, and there’s no obligation to continue.

      Find out more about the cost of Contesting a Will.

    • How Can I Cover The Cost Of My Claim?
    • There are various ways you can cover the cost of your claim, depending on your case. These include:

      • Legal Expenses Insurance
      • Conditional Fee Agreement (‘No Win No Fee’)
      • Payment on conclusion
      • Private monthly billing.

      We understand that funds and assets may be tied up in the disputed estate, and we’ll be as flexible as possible to ensure that’s not another worry on your mind. We’ll discuss the different payment options with you at the start.

      Your first consultation with us is completely free, and there’s no obligation to continue.

    • How Long Do I Have To Make A Claim?
    • Depending on the type of claim you’re making, you may need to start your claim within six months of the grant of representation being issued. In all cases, it’s very important to seek legal advice as soon as possible, so you aren’t prevented from making a valid and potentially valuable claim. We’ll be able to advise you on your situation and how we can help.

    • Meet The Team
    • Our Wills, Trusts and Estate Disputes team is the largest in the UK and we have offices across the country. We are experienced in managing high-net-worth and ultra-high-net-worth claims as well as less complex ones.

      We’ve resolved some of the country’s most high-profile disputes and are particularly experienced with the unique challenges of multi-jurisdictional wealth management structures, rural property and inheritance tax.

      We are recommended by the leading legal guides and pride ourselves on the strong relationship we build with our clients in what is often a very trying time.

      Meet the team

My legal team has held my hand throughout, they have been incredibly patient and understanding"

Joy Williams, client

Frequently Asked Questions

What Makes A Will Invalid?

For a Will to be legally valid, there are some conditions that must be in place:

  • The person making the Will must be of ‘sound mind’ (read more about testamentary capacity)
  • They must act of their own free will and fully understand the contents of the Will (read more about undue influence)
  • The correct legal procedure must be followed when the Will is drawn up – this is known as ‘due execution’.

If the Will is declared invalid because of a lack of due execution, you may be able to make a professional negligence claim against the Solicitor or Will writer who dealt with it.

For more information on what makes a Will valid or not, visit our page on the Grounds For Contesting A Will. Or call the team on 0345 604 4895 to speak to one of our experts today.

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Can I Contest A Will If I’m Not Named In It?

If you haven’t been named in the Will, in many cases you could still make a claim. Whether it is done deliberately or not, excluding someone from a Will doesn’t automatically mean they can’t inherit.

Reasons for being left out of the Will could include:

  • The deceased was living with a new partner but hadn’t updated their Will to reflect this
  • They were influenced to change their Will before they died
  • They had become estranged from their children and didn’t want them to inherit.

Some people, including spouses, partners and children, may be entitled to some form of financial provision under the Inheritance Act 1975.

You could also make a claim if the deceased had promised you something while they were alive, but then failed to put this in their Will. Find out more on our Pre-death Agreements page.

Call us at any time on 0345 604 4895 – or fill out our online form and we’ll call you back.

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What Is The Difference Between Contesting A Will And Contentious Probate?

Contentious probate refers to any dispute about the administration of a deceased person’s estate, rather than the contents of the Will or whether or not it is valid. Contentious probate could involve a dispute about:

  • The value of assets
  • The interpretation of a Will
  • How the estate should be divided up when there is no Will
  • Dealing with an executor who has mismanaged the estate
  • Disagreements between those named in the Will.

Head to our Contentious Probate page for more information – or give us a call today on 0345 604 4895 to talk to one of the team. Alternatively, message us online and we’ll call you back.

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