How do you contest a Will?

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Often relatives are left feeling hurt or wrong done by when the contents of a Will are revealed. It is then too late of course to persuade the person who made the Will to think through the consequences of the Will and change their mind.

Wills and Probates

However, there are only a limited number of ways to challenge the provisions in a Will. It is not enough to say that you are the next of kin to have an automatic right to an inheritance.

But, if you are financially dependent on the deceased – usually because you have been living under the deceased’s roof – and if the deceased has failed to adequately provide for you in their Will then you can apply to the Court for the division of the inheritance to be changed.

The Court does not do this lightly so there has to be long term and significant financial dependence before an application should be made. For example, a cohabitee of many years who is not mentioned in his or her partner’s Will could ask for a Court order that they be allowed to remain living in their partner’s house.

More unusual ways to contest a Will are if it can be shown without a doubt that the deceased did not know what they were signing, that they lacked capacity or that their signature was forged. These types of challenges are very rare and are usually restricted to home made Wills.

If the deceased had visited a solicitor to make their Will it is incredibly difficult to show the deceased lacked capacity.

Another basis for challenging a Will is if the deceased was under duress when making the Will. The test for duress or undue pressure is very high. There has to be more than just influencing or manipulating someone into making a Will. It has to be shown that the deceased was put under extreme pressure, usually due to threats to their physical safety. It is all the harder to prove this when the main witness – the deceased themselves – is not available to give evidence.

So, whilst contesting a Will is not impossible it is certainly unusual and should only be embarked upon with advice and assistance from a solicitor.




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