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Contesting An Invalid Will

Forged Wills & Probate Fraud

Our solicitors can help you defend an estate against forged Wills and other forms of probate fraud to ensure that the deceased’s wishes are respected and you receive your rightful share of their estate.

Probate fraud includes any kind of dishonest behaviour intended to secure personal benefit from the estate of someone who has passed away. This could mean:

  • Instructing a Will writer while pretending to be the testator
  • Forging the testator’s signature on a Will
  • Forging an entire Will
  • Destroying someone else’s Will without their permission.

If the instructions in a Will are significantly different to what you expected, probate fraud may have taken place.

Anyone with an interest in an estate can dispute a forged or fraudulent Will. We can help prove that fraud has taken place and make sure that the deceased’s estate is administered according to their last valid Will instead.

Our Will, Trust & Estate Disputes team is highly experienced with probate fraud cases and we’ll enlist expert testimony from forgery specialists to support your claim.

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

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One of the largest Wills disputes teams in the UK
Specialist mediators available to resolve disputes out of court

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Forged Wills & Probate Fraud - More Information
    • 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 other parties.

      3. Court

      Some disputes cannot be resolved by reaching an agreed settlement. If this is the case, the matter will have to be decided by a 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 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.

    • 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.

    • 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
      • Litigation loans and third party funding.

      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.

    • Do I Have To Come To The Irwin Mitchell Offices?
    • We understand that the death of a loved one can be a distressing and difficult time, and we’ll do everything we can to make sure your claim is as stress-free as possible.

      We’re happy to meet with you at one of our offices – or if you prefer, we can deal with everything by phone or email. We can also come and meet you at a place that’s convenient for you.

      We have clients across the country and will always strive to make everything as convenient for you as possible.

    • 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

Who Can Contest a Forged Will?

Anyone who has an immediate or potential interest in the estate can contest a Will if they are concerned about its validity. This could include:

  • Family members
  • Friends
  • Business partners
  • Employees
  • Other beneficiaries.

You may be concerned that a Will is forged or otherwise fraudulent if it differs considerably from what you thought were the deceased’s intentions. For example, you may have had a pre-death agreement with the deceased that isn’t reflected in the Will.

Significant changes from a previous Will might also indicate fraud, particularly if the two Wills were written in a relatively short space of time.

If you're worried that a Will is invalid, we can advise you. 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 will 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 in front of two independent witnesses. These witnesses may also be able to give evidence that a Will has been forged.

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

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What Will Happen If My Claim Is Successful?

If we prove that the deceased’s signature or an entire Will has been forged, the Will is then invalid. The estate will be administered according the deceased’s most recent valid Will from before the forgery. If there is no earlier valid Will then the estate will be distributed according to the Intestacy Rules.

Read more about what happens to an estate if there is no valid Will.

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