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Contesting A Will

Contesting An Invalid Will

Our solicitors can help you contest an invalid Will to ensure that your loved one’s wishes are faithfully carried out and you receive the inheritance you are entitled to.

When a Will is invalid, the estate will be distributed according to the deceased’s previous valid Will. If they had no previous valid Will, the estate will be distributed according to standard laws called the Intestacy Rules.

Proving that a Will is invalid can be a way of making sure that an estate is distributed fairly and according to the deceased’s true intentions. We can help you if:

  • A Will has been forged
  • The deceased had insufficient mental capacity when writing their Will
  • The deceased was subject to undue influence when writing their Will
  • The Will wasn’t properly signed or witnessed
  • The deceased didn’t know and approve the contents of their Will
  • Someone has poisoned the mind of the deceased against another person.

We understand how sensitive and emotionally charged some Will disputes can be and we’ll aim to make things as stress-free as possible. You can visit us at one of our offices around the UK or we can handle everything via phone and email if you’d prefer.

Our lawyers are skilled negotiators who aim to resolve cases quickly. If your case does need to go to court, you’ll have the support of our highly experienced team every step of the way.

As part of one of the UK’s top-rated Private Client teams, we’re highly experienced with complex investment structures, international assets, and valuable property portfolios. We’ll work with a range of specialists, including tax and wealth structuring experts, to help you get the most out of your inheritance.

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

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Contesting An Invalid 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 that 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 Long Will It Take?
    • Most claims take less than a year and don’t have to go to court. However, every case is different and time spans depend on the type of dispute and your individual situation.

      Some disputes can be resolved quickly and amicably in a matter of months, but others might take years to conclude and involve going to court several times.

      We’ll advise you at the start how long we think it will take. Whatever the situation, we always aim to resolve your dispute as quickly and efficiently as possible. We understand that this is a difficult time, and we’re here to help you through.

    • Will I Have To Go To Court?
    • Most disputes can be resolved by negotiation and discussion, without having to go to court. However, sometimes this isn’t possible and court is the only way.

      We understand that most people would prefer to keep their dispute out of court, and we will always do everything we can to try and reach an agreement by mediation. However, if your dispute does have to go to court, we will support you at every stage. We have the experience to handle court disputes efficiently and effectively, to achieve the best outcome for you.

    • 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 Much Does It Cost? Who Pays?
    • The cost of a Will, trust or estate dispute varies from case to case, depending on time, complexity, and whether or not you have to go to court.

      A dispute can be settled at any time if the parties can come to an agreement, and they can then decide how to split the 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.

    • 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 Is Testamentary Capacity?

Testamentary capacity is the legal term used to describe a person’s mental capacity or ability to make or alter a testamentary document, such as a Will.

In general terms, someone must be ‘of sound mind’ to make or alter a Will. The legal test for someone having testamentary capacity is if they:

  1. Understand that they are making a Will
  2. Understand that the Will disposes of their assets after their death
  3. Understand what assets are disposed of by the Will
  4. Understand which beneficiaries may have a claim on their estate
  5. Aren’t suffering from mental illness which affects their ability to decide the fate of their estate.

If it is proved that someone did not have testamentary capacity when they made a Will, the Will is invalid.

A solicitor or Will writer should only accept instructions from clients that they believe to have testamentary capacity. As such, if they have concerns about this, it’s often prudent practice to request medical evidence before accepting instructions, or to ask a medical professional to act as a witness. That medical professional should be aware of and understand the legal test for testamentary capacity.

If you're concerned that someone did not have testamentary capacity when they made their Will, we can help. Call today on 0345 604 4895 – or fill out our online contact form and we’ll call you back.
 

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How Do You Prove That A Will Has Been Forged?

We'll enlist experts to analyse the Will and assess whether it has been forged. A handwriting expert, for example, can help determine whether a signature or even an entire handwritten Will has been forged.

We’ll then use this evidence to support your claim.

Fraud prevention is one reason Wills must be signed (or the signature acknowledged) in front of two witnesses who cannot also be beneficiaries of the Will. 

If you are worried a Will has been forged, we can help. Call today on 0345 604 4895 – or fill out our online contact form and we’ll call you back.

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What Can I Do If I Think There’s A Mistake With The Will?

You may be able to claim if mistakes made by the Will writer mean you’ve received less than you were expecting from an estate or nothing at all. This can happen when a Will isn’t drafted in accordance with the deceased’s instructions or isn’t executed properly, or in some cases not executed at all.

For example, you could claim if: 

  • Unnecessary delays meant that the deceased didn’t sign the Will before their death, despite having given clear instructions to the Will writer
  • The witnesses did not actually witness the deceased sign the Will or acknowledge his/her signature in their presence
  • The Will doesn’t reflect the deceased’s intentions and instructions

If you’re disappointed with what you’ve been left in someone’s Will, our solicitors can investigate whether or not you’ll be able to make a claim. Call us on 0345 604 4895 or contact us online to find out more. 

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