For Individuals

A Will is a legal document which enables a person to control what will happen to their property, money and possessions (referred to as their ‘estate’) when they die.

To ensure that the deceased individual’s wishes are carried out as accurately as possible, strict responsibilities and obligations are placed upon the people authorised to distribute the estate to ensure the deceased’s wishes are followed, these individuals are called ‘executors’.

However, what happens if someone has died and the instructions in their Will seem wrong, strange or unfair? What if you suspect that they were pressured into making a gift to someone they barely knew? In certain circumstances like this, you may have the option of contesting the Will.

It is important to note that a Will cannot be successfully challenged simply because you do not agree with it. By way of example, a person is well within their rights to decide that they would rather leave their entire estate to charity than to their family. If, however, one or more of the grounds below apply, you may be able to raise a dispute.

Grounds for challenge

The person making the Will did not have capacity to make it

The question of whether or not a person has capacity can be complex. A person can be said to have capacity for some actions but not others and their capacity can be subject to change from one day to the next. A common example of a situation where a person’s capacity may be affected is where they are suffering from Alzheimer's disease.

Our Will disputes solicitors will work on your behalf to gather evidence that supports your claim, whilst providing pragmatic advice on what options are available to you.

The person making the Will did not understand what they were doing or know of and approve the terms

If a Will has been properly executed and the person making it had capacity, it will generally be assumed that they understood what they were doing. There may however be situations where the risk is higher and evidence to demonstrate that they did understand may be required. For example, if the person making the Will was blind or illiterate.

Our solicitors will be available to support you in this instance, quickly assessing the likelihood of your dispute being accepted and working with you to build a robust case.

The person making the Will was coerced into making it or into making particular gifts

A person making a Will should be acting freely and the terms of the Will should reflect what they want. They should not be subject to any pressure or influence. This is of particular concern if they are a vulnerable person.

Our solicitors for contesting a Will understand how difficult these situations can be, and will be at hand to advise and support you throughout.

The Will is fraudulent or a forgery

If the Will has been made or altered fraudulently by someone else and/or the signature of the deceased person was forged, it will not be valid.

The Will was not signed or witnessed properly

To be valid, a Will must comply with Section 9 of the Wills Act 1837 which in short provides that it must be in writing and must be signed in the presence of two witnesses, who must also sign the Will to confirm they have witnessed it.

The Will was written on behalf of the deceased (by, for example, a solicitor) and the Will writer made an error

If a clerical error was made when the Will was written and it results in the document not accurately reflecting the intention of the deceased person, the Court has power to rectify it.

You are the spouse, civil partner, former spouse or civil partner (who has not remarried or entered into another civil partnership), child, cohabitee or dependent of the deceased and the Will does not make sufficient provision to meet your needs.

Such claims are made under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975. This Act allows the court, where reasonable, to change the distribution of the estate to benefit certain relations or dependents who genuinely need the provision to maintain them.

How and when to challenge a Will

Any challenge to a Will should be made promptly. Claims for rectification and claims under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependents) Act 1975 must be brought within six months of grant of probate and any contest will be more difficult to resolve if the estate has already been distributed. If no resolution can be reached amicably using methods such as mediation, proceedings will have to be issued at court.

Contact our solicitors for contesting a Will

If you would like advice on or assistance with contesting a Will or making a Will, please do not hesitate to contact us. Our solicitors for contesting a Will have extensive experience in handling a wide variety of Will dispute cases and provide an effective and compassionate service. We have offices in Wokingham, Reading and Farnham, and you can also email us at

Alternatively, you can use our contact form to request a call back.

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