Can you contest a Will?

Can you contest a Will?If you are in the difficult situation of having concerns over someone’s estate after their death, you may be wondering, can you contest a Will? The answer is yes, there are many situations in which a Will can be successfully challenged, including where someone has been left out of a Will or where a Will is not valid.

At Lockings Solicitors, our contentious probate team provide expert advice and representation in respect of issues with Wills, including in complex and challenging cases. We can give you an appraisal of your case and discuss what you could potentially achieve if you challenge the Will.

Our team is headed by Associate Director Sarah Thomsen, who also heads our civil litigation department and has over twenty years of litigation experience. She is a member of the Association of Contentious Trust and Probate Specialists and has a deep understanding of the law and procedure in handling Wills cases.

Our contentious probate team members have exceptional experience and a strong track record in making successful challenges to Wills. We know that it is not easy to deal with legal matters following a death and if you ask us to represent you, we will make sure that you have the support and guidance that you need.

We will keep you updated as to the progress of your case and make sure that we are available to speak to you when you have questions or concerns. We can communicate with you in the way that suits you best, whether this is by email, videolink, phone or in-person.

Call us on 01482 300 200, email us at or fill in our contact form and we will call you back promptly. We have offices in Beverley, Hull and York and represent clients across the UK and abroad if the matter relates to English property and estates.

When can you contest a Will?

You may be able to contest a Will in following circumstances:

  • You were left out of the Will or left less than you reasonably need to support yourself
  • You believe that the Will is invalid

Contesting a Will if you are left out

Contesting a Will is difficult and you will usually need an expert contentious probate solicitor to represent you. It can be challenging to establish a valid claim and you need to have advice that relates to your specific circumstances to be sure that your case is brought on the right grounds.

As a member of ACTAPS, our head of contentious probate has exceptional expertise in dealing with challenges to Wills. We will make sure that you understand the options open to you and that your case is as robust as possible.

Having an experienced contentious probate solicitor representing you is a strong tactical advantage when approaching executors.

Certain categories of person can challenge a Will if they need reasonable financial provision and this has not been given to them. This is known as an Inheritance Act claim after the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975 (the Act). Those who can make a claim are:

  • The deceased’s spouse or civil partner
  • A former spouse or civil partner, provided that they have not remarried or entered into another civil partnership
  • Someone who was cohabiting with the deceased as a spouse for at least two years before the date of death
  • A child of the deceased
  • Someone that the deceased treated as their child
  • Someone supported financially by the deceased prior to their death

The Act provides that a successful claimant is entitled to reasonable financial provision. Someone who has been left some money in a Will but not enough to support them may be able to make a claim for increased provision.

The court will take the following points into account when deciding how much to award if your claim is successful.

  • The financial resources you have available, including those you will have the foreseeable future
  • Your financial needs, including those you may have in the foreseeable future
  • The resources and needs of other beneficiaries
  • Obligations and responsibilities that the deceased may have to other individuals
  • The size of the estate left by the deceased
  • Any physical or mental disability that a beneficiary or anyone making a claim may have
  • Anything else the court considers relevant

We can identify the most persuasive points to emphasise to the court and make sure that your claim is backed by the right evidence in support.

A spouse or civil partner of the deceased may receive more than just reasonable financial provision and the courts will generally award a similar sum to that which the claimant would have received in a divorce or civil partnership dissolution.

Contesting an invalid Will

There are several reasons why a Will could be invalid, including:

  • Lack of mental capacity on the part of the deceased when making their Will
  • The deceased did not have approval or understanding of the contents of the Will
  • Someone unduly influenced the deceased into making the Will in their favour
  • Forgery or fraud
  • The Will was not correctly signed and witnessed
  • An error was made in the drafting of the Will
  • The deceased married after signing the Will and the Will was not made in contemplation of the marriage

If you have concerns over the validity of a Will, we will be happy to discuss this with you and give you our opinion. If you decide to pursue a claim, we can put together the available evidence in support of your case, to include obtaining relevant documents and witness statement.

If the Will is invalid, then an earlier Will can take effect if there is one and it is valid.

If there is no other Will, then the deceased’s estate will pass under the Rules of Intestacy. We can advise you as to the rules and what you might be entitled to inherit under them.

Is there a time limit to contest a Will?

There is a time limit of six months from the date of the Grant of Probate in which to start an Inheritance Act claim for financial provision if you have not been included in the Will or if you have not been left sufficient funds. In limited circumstances, we may be able to ask the court to waive this deadline if we can put forward a valid reason for the delay.

There is no time limit for contesting a Will on the grounds of its validity, but you are strongly advised to take action as soon as you can and before the estate is distributed. Once the administration has been concluded, it can be more difficult to secure funds.

Do you have to go to court to contest a Will?

We always aim to resolve Wills disputes without the need for litigation. If you are making an Inheritance Act claim, we can put a comprehensive case to the estate’s executors on your behalf and, where possible, enter into negotiations to secure a settlement for you.

As a legal case is likely to delay the estate administration as well as cost the estate money, the executors may be prepared to settle your claim.

We have extensive litigation experience and if a court case is necessary, we will make sure that a robust claim is made on your behalf.

Contact our East Yorkshire solicitors for contesting a Will

If you have concerns about the estate of someone who has died and you would like to talk to a solicitor about how to contest the Will, call us today. We will go through what has happened and discuss the options open to you.

You can call us on 01482 300 200, email us at or fill in our contact form and we will call you back promptly. We have offices in Beverley, Hull and York and represent clients across the UK and abroad if the matter relates to English property and estates.

The content on this website is for information only and is not intended to provide specific legal advice to a particular case. Should you require legal advice in relation to your particular situation then please do not hesitate to contact us.

What Our Clients Say

Find out about our simple, straightforward service from the people who know it best –– our clients.

Why Choose Us

No Hidden Costs

We promise to inform you before we begin and to keep you informed throughout so you're always sure what everything will cost.

Clear Communication

Engage in straightforward, jargon-free conversations via your preferred communication method(s)

Flexible Availability

Talk to us about your schedule, urgency and timeline to see how we can tailor the service you receive.

Free Initial Chat

Book a free, no-obligation chat with one of our friendly and experienced team at a time convenient for you to get clarity on your legal needs and to see if we’re a good fit for you and your family.

Find Us

Looking for a solicitor local to East Yorkshire or York? Visit our offices in Beverley, Hull, and York, or get in touch via telephone, fax, or email.





If you are a customer of Lockings Solicitors and we have contracted with you online you may be entitled to use the EU Online Dispute Resolution (ODR) Platform to assist in resolving any dispute with us. This service can be found at

Our email address is

Lockings Solicitors is a trading name of Lockings Legal Services Limited registered in England and Wales company registration number 09244568. Lockings Legal Services Limited is authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (Main Office SRA ID number 626081). A list of our directors is available for inspection at all our offices. Use the following link
online access to the current professional rules applicable to solicitors. All calls are recorded for training and quality purposes.

The content on this website is for information only and is not intended to provide specific legal advice to a particular case. Should you require legal advice in relation to your particular situation then please do not hesitate to contact us.

VAT Number: 282 2447 58

Contact Us

Tell us the basics below and one of our friendly office team will be in touch for an informal, obligation-free chat.

Once we know a little more about your requirements, we’ll match you to a solicitor with the right expertise to help you.