Challenging a Will, also known as contesting a Will, can be a long and expensive process with some other law firms, but we want to make the process as easy as possible for you if you think you have the grounds to contest a Will.
You’re probably not sure about who can contest a Will or how much it costs, so we’re offering a £900 (VAT included) Fixed Fee service for assessing the merits of Contesting a Will.
Let’s look at what the Fixed Fee service does and doesn't include.
A Contentious Probate Solicitor will carry out an assessment of your case and this includes:
- Making enquiries with the person who drafted the Will about the circumstances around the making of the Will. This may have a small charge, but we’ll tell you before going ahead.
- Accessing medical records of the person who died and reviewing them.
- Speaking with witnesses who knew the person who died for any evidence of cognitive decline or undue influence.
- Asking the deceased’s GP for their view on their Testamentary Capacity at the time of making the Will. Please note, the GP may charge a small amount for this, but we’ll inform you of any charges
- Getting help from an independent medical expert advisor - many GPs won't give a view, usually because they can't or may give one we disagree with. But if you’re making a claim alleging a lack of capacity or undue influence, a medical adviser’s input at this early stage will be very valuable in helping us to decide if a claim is likely to succeed. An independent medical expert will review the medical records, along with any witness evidence and give us their opinion on whether the person lacked testamentary capacity or was unduly influenced.
- Assessing all information and material available, and advising you on the expected outcome.
Once this work is done, and if you have a good chance of successfully contesting the Will, the ground work is already done and we can move onto the next stage of the process. We’ll tell you about how much this will cost at this point.
What’s Not Included
The following is not included in the Fixed Fee of £900:
- Anything not included in the lists above
- Tax or accounting work
- Any law other than English law
- Anything that falls within the responsibilities of an expert witness
- Court proceedings including any interim applications to the Court
If any problems come up outside of the areas we deal with and we have to consult with a third party, we’ll tell you and discuss your options with you.
For any additional work that’s not included in the Fixed Fee service, our normal hourly rates will apply. We’ll always tell you about any additional costs before we do any additional work.
How Does it Work?
- Get in touch with our Contentious Probate team for a free, no-obligation chat about your situation. We’ll tell you if we think the Fixed Fee is right for you.
- You sign our paperwork and validity questionnaire and send it back.
- You make a payment of £900.
- Send us all the relevant documents in your possession.
For more information contact our Contentious Probate Solicitors.
Grounds for Contesting a Will
You will need to have a legally valid reason to contest a Will. Some of the most common grounds we see are:
Lack of Testamentary Capacity – You can allege that the person who made the Will you are contesting did not have the legal and mental capacity to make or change a Will. If you can support this claim with evidence, then the Will will be classed as invalid. To have Testamentary Capacity, you must:
- Understand the nature of making the Will and its effects
- Understand the value of your property and assets you’re dividing
- Not have any mental condition that affects your understanding of what you’re doing or your ability to make a Will
If you can show that the person didn’t have Testamentary Capacity when they made their Will, then you may be able to successfully contest the Will.
Undue Influence – This is where someone is pressured or persuaded to make a Will that doesn’t actually reflect what they want. For example, a family member or friend could coerce or threaten them to make sure they are included as a beneficiary. To decide if someone was under undue influence, the Court will consider:
- The physical and mental health of the person who made the Will
- Whether or not the individual was dependent on the person accused of undue influence
- The personality of the person accused of undue influence and their relationship with the person who died - do they have a forceful and domineering personality?
- The reasons given by the person who died for the contents of their Will
This is a difficult challenge to make, but one of our specialist Contentious Probate Solicitors will help you to decide if this is the best option for you.
A Will is also invalid in England or Wales if:
- It doesn’t meet the legal requirements of a Will. This includes if it hasn’t been written, signed or witnessed correctly
- A signature was forged or unauthorised changes were made to the Will
- The Will is vague or unclear
If you’re unsure of where you stand and whether you’ve got grounds for contesting a Will, get in touch and we can help you to be clear about your position.
For free legal advice call our Contentious Probate Solicitors
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Simpson Millar Solicitors are a national law firm with over 500 staff and offices in Bristol, Cardiff, Lancaster, Leeds, Liverpool, London, Manchester and Southport.