Contesting a Will

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Contesting a Will: No Win, No Fee

The death of a loved one can be a difficult and stressful time, sometimes heightened if there has been complications with a Will. This is when the act of contesting a will can come into play.

If you have been left out of a friend or family member's will, or if you do not think you have been left enough, then you may be able to make a claim for reasonable financial provision under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975.

Grounds for Contesting a will

In some circumstances a will may not be valid. There are number of ways to contest a will and challenge its validity:

  • Lack of mental capacity. With an ageing population, the rise in cases of dementia and a greater awareness of other mental health issues, there is a definite rise in challenges to wills on the basis the testator lacked mental capacity.

    If the person did not have the requisite mental capacity, the will is not valid.
  • Lack of knowledge and approval of the terms of a will. This is often linked to lack of mental capacity but can also be argued in other cases such as where English is not the first language for example.

    If a person did not know and approve the terms of the will, the will is not valid.
  • Undue influence. It is often the case that a testator makes a will at a time when they are particularly vulnerable, whether that is because of age or ill health, and this is open to abuse. If a person is forced into making a will, then the will is invalid.
  • Fraud and forgery. If a will is forged or the signature is forged, then it is not valid. We can often get handwriting experts to provide evidence on this.
  • Will not properly executed. There are certain formalities set out by the Wills Act 1837 which must be satisfied in order for a will to be valid. This includes a will being in writing, signed and witnessed. If a will is not properly executed, it is invalid.

You may also be able to claim if you have been promised an inheritance and not received it.

Contesting a will after probate

You can contest a will after probate. The process may be different to contesting a will before probate, but a specialist solicitor will be able to advise you on this.

If you have an issue it is always best to contest a will before the grant of probate, as when probate is granted the Executor can administer the Estate and sell property, access bank accounts, etc. This may make it more difficult to enforce any judgment you get in your favour as the assets may have been spent.

The process of contesting a will

Contesting a will is not straight forward and there are a number of different ways it can be done. At Forbes, our process is roughly that we first look to speak with you in detail about your claim, carry out initial investigations and advise you of the legal position surrounding your case. We will then write to the opponent and put your case to them in full.

After we receive a detailed response from the opponent we may then look to organise a mediation to attempt to resolve the matter without the need for court proceedings.

If mediation is not successful, then we will need to issue court proceedings. We will advise you thoroughly of the cost and risk of doing this, to ensure that you are comfortable with all details.

Contesting a will time limits

In some cases, there are strict time limits to contest a will and if you have an issue you should contact us without delay to ensure a claim is brought in time.

To make a claim under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975, you have six months from the date of the grant of probate to bring a claim. However, you can bring a claim out of time if you have a good reason, and we can advise you on that.

If the time limit has passed or if the time limit is approaching, it is important that you act fast and contact us without delay.

In some cases there are no time limits to contest a will, and we will advise you of that in our initial free consultation.

Contesting a will costs

There is no set cost to how much it will cost to contest a will, as it will vary based on the solicitor you choose as well as the nature of your claim.

With Forbes Solicitors, your initial telephone consultation with a specialist wills & probate solicitor is completely free. After that, we offer extreme flexibility with fees and funding, which sometimes includes operating on a "no win, no fee" basis, and we can also defer costs to ensure we work with clients as efficiently and cost effectively as possible.

Contested Probate Claims

Every contested probate claim and case is different – and yours is likely to be unique, too. As such, it's difficult to predict what your case may look like, or the exact path that your claim may take.

If you feel that you would like to pursue a contesting a will claim, then the first step that you need to make is finding a trusted and specialist solicitor. Our experienced team of probate and wills solicitors can advise you on all aspects of your claim, and provide you with whatever support you need throughout the case.

Contesting a will solicitors

Forbes Solicitors have a nationally recognised team of specialist Contentious Wills, Trusts and Probate lawyers. Our lawyers are recognised and recommended by the prestigious "Legal 500", a directory listing top lawyers and firms, and are associate members of the esteemed Association of Contentious Trusts and Probate Specialists and the Society of Trusts and Estate Practitioners.

We are extremely flexible with fees and funding and offer a free initial telephone consultation with one of our specialist lawyers. We often pursue matters of a "no win, no fee" basis, we can defer costs and we work with clients to ensure their matter is pursued as efficiently and cost effectively as possible.

The team act for clients on local, national and international basis on a range of Contentious Wills, Trust and Probate matters. We have significant experience in acting for claimants, defendants, executors and beneficiaries in a variety of matters, including:

  • Claims for reasonable financial provision under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975.
  • Challenging the validity of wills on the basis of lack of capacity, lack of knowledge and approval of the terms of the will, lack of proper execution, and fraud and forgery.
  • Executor and trustee disputes including applications to the court for directions on the administration of trusts.
  • Claims against executors for maladministration.
  • Promises of gifts prior to death.
  • Challenging lifetime gifts made to friends and relatives.

To speak to one of our specialist Wills & Probate solicitors about your contesting a will case, call 0800 689 3607. Alternatively, click here to fill out a form, and we'll call you.

Contesting a will FAQs

Contesting a will may sometimes seem like a complicated or confusing process, which gives rise to a number of questions and queries. Read our FAQs below to get all the basic information that you need about contesting a will:

Can you contest a will?

Yes a will can be contested on a number of grounds, including improper execution of the will, fraud and forgery, and a lack of mental capacity. Click here to read more about grounds for Contesting a Will.

What happens when a will is contested?

The exact process of contesting a will can be different with every case. If the validity of a will is successfully challenged then the terms of a previous will or the rules of intestacy apply.

Can anyone contest a will?

There are various classes of people that can make a claim including children, people treated as children (including step children), spouses and former spouses, and any person maintained wholly or partly by the Deceased before death (this could include wider family members, friends or partners).

If you stand to inherit under the terms of a previous will or under the rules of intestacy, then you are likely to be able to contest the will.

If you are making a claim under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975 for reasonable financial provision then there are a limited number of people who can claim.

If you wish to contest a will, please give us a call and we will discuss with you whether you are able.

Can a will be contested by a sibling?

Yes, in some circumstances, a will can be contested by a sibling. Typically, you will be eligible to contest a will if you stood to benefit under the terms of a previous will but do not under a current one, or if you stand to benefit under the rules of intestacy.

Each contesting a will claim is different, so it's important that you seek the expertise and advise of a specialist solicitor for advice on your specific circumstances. If you wish to contest a will, please give us a call and we will discuss with you whether you are able.

Can grandchildren contest a will?

Yes, in some circumstances. It depends on the exact nature of your case – your relation to the deceased alone is not enough to grant you eligibility, but if you stand to benefit under the terms of a previous will or the rules of intestacy, then you may be eligible. If you wish to contest a will, please get in touch with Forbes and we will discuss with you whether you are able.

When can a will be contested?

A will can be contested when the person who has made the will has died. In different cases, it is possible for wills to be contested before or after probate, but it very much depends on the exact nature of the case.

How much does it cost to contest a will?

There is no accurate way of predicting the exact cost of contesting a will. At Forbes, we are flexible with fees in order to suit your needs. We often pursue matters of a "no win, no fee" basis, we can defer costs and we work with clients to ensure their matter is pursued as efficiently and cost effectively as possible.

Get in touch

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0800 689 3607

12 Jan 2018

Contesting a Will

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