Contest a Will Solicitor

After someone has died, you may be in the difficult position of finding that there is a problem with their Will. This could be because it is invalid or because you have not been supported in the Will in the way that you need. Our experienced contentious probate team can advise you on how to contest a Will and provide the support and representation you need at this challenging time.

We have been helping clients deal with Wills claims and disputes for many years and have a proven track record of finding solutions promptly and without the need for litigation. We can talk through the situation with you and discuss the best strategy for dealing with it.

Our contentious probate team is headed by Associate Director Sarah Thomsen, who has more than twenty years of experience in dealing with litigation. She routinely handles complex Wills disputes, including entrenched disagreements and high-value claims. As a member of the Association of Contentious Trust and Probate Specialists (ACTAPS), Sarah has the expertise to identify the best way of resolving matters and the tenacity to secure the best possible outcome.

She is supported by a team with wide-ranging experience in dealing with challenges to Wills. We know how hard it can be to take on a legal case after a death, and you will find our contentious probate solicitors to be sensitive and understanding.

We are known for the outstanding service we provide. We will make sure that you are kept updated throughout and that we are available to talk through issues as they arise. We are happy to deal with you by email, phone, videolink or in-person, whichever methods are best for you.

To talk to us about how to contest a Will, call us on 01482 300 200, email us at welcome@lockings.co.uk or fill in our Free Online Enquiry and we will ring 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.

On what grounds can you contest a Will?

The main reasons for contesting a Will are:

  • The Will is believed to be invalid
  • You were left out of the Will or received less than you feel you reasonably need

Challenging a Will on the grounds of validity

A Will could be found to be invalid for a range of reasons. If the courts decide that it is not valid, an earlier Will could take its place or, if there is no earlier Will, then the estate will pass under the Rules of Intestacy.

The Intestacy rules leave an estate to the relatives of the deceased in a strict order of preference, starting with a spouse and children.

Reasons why a Will might be invalid include:

  • The person who made the Will, known as the testator, did not have sufficient mental capacity to understanding the implications of the Will
  • The testator did not have knowledge or approval of the contents of the Will
  • The testator was unduly influenced to make the Will in the terms that they did
  • There were errors in the execution or witnessing of the Will
  • The Will contains mistakes
  • The testator married after making the Will, and the Will was not made in contemplation of the marriage
  • Fraud or forgery

It could also be the case that one or more clauses in the Will are vague or ambiguous. In this case, the Will could be valid, but the court can be asked to determine how to interpret the clauses in question.

Challenging a Will to request support

You may have been left out of a Will, after believing that you would inherit something, or alternatively be left less than you were expecting. In some cases, it is possible to make a claim against the estate.

This claim will usually be for ‘reasonable financial provision’, unless you were married to the deceased or in a civil partnership with them, in which case you might be entitled to a larger sum.

A claim is brought under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975, which allows the following individuals to claim financial support:

  • A spouse or civil partner of the deceased
  • A former spouse or civil partner, provided they have not since married or entered into another civil partnership
  • A cohabiting partner, provided that they had been living with the deceased for at least two years prior to the date of death
  • A child of the deceased
  • Someone the deceased treated as their child
  • Someone the deceased was financially maintaining at their death

How can I contest a Will?

If you want to contest a Will, the first step is to speak to an experienced contentious probate solicitor. This is a complex area of law and it is crucial to talk to an expert. If you ask us to deal with a challenge to a Will on your behalf, we will give you an honest assessment of your case and what you might realistically be able to achieve.

We can contact the other side on your behalf and notify them of your claim, putting your case in the strongest possible terms. We are often able to enter into negotiations at this point, finding an out of court solution. Estate executors are generally open to trying to resolve matters without the need for litigation as it is a faster way of dealing with a claim and will potentially allow them to wind up the estate without an undue delay. It is also more cost-effective and can avoid draining the estate of funds.

If it is not possible to agree on a solution by way of negotiation, you could also consider an alternative method of dispute resolution such as mediation. Again, this is usually quicker and cheaper than court.

Where necessary however, we can take the step of asking the court for a ruling and put forward a robust case on your behalf.

Is there a time limit to contest a Will?

It is always recommended that you address any issues straightaway. This will make it easier for us to put together the evidence we need, which will usually include the solicitor’s file from the preparation of the Will and witness statements from those with information about the testator’s state of mind and what they wanted to accomplish with their Will.

If you wish to make an Inheritance Act claim, there is a time limit of six months from the date of the Grant of Probate in which to file a claim at court. On occasion, it may be possible to persuade the court to consider a case out of time, provided that there is a good reason for the late application, but wherever possible, a claim should be started as soon as possible.

How much does it cost to contest a Will?

Contesting a Will can be expensive, which is one of the reasons why it is preferable to resolve matters quickly and out of court. If your case is successful, then the court may order the other side to pay some or all of your reasonable costs, although there are exceptions to this.

We provide you with detailed advice about the cost of challenging a Will.

How long does it take to challenge a Will?

Wills disputes can become long-running if not handled efficiently. We always work to find a solution without delay, entering into negotiations early on and taking a pragmatic approach. It is often preferable to agree on a settlement in the early stages of a case than to spend a long time preparing for litigation. If you would like to discuss your particular case in more detail, please feel free to call us and we can arrange an initial consultation.

Contest a Will solicitor – contact us

If you need help and advice to contest a Will, contact us today and we will be pleased to hear from you.

Call us on 01482 300 200, email us at welcome@lockings.co.uk or fill in our Free Online Enquiry 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.

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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.

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