Don't get stuck in checkmate when you challenge a will validity - consider these 5 points before challenging a will

A Reminder of the 5 Grounds to Challenge a Will

Challenging a will requires a valid reason to go to court. Different grounds will be relied upon in a will dispute, depending on the particular circumstances under which the will was made. If you are unhappy with the contents of a will and the circumstances in which it was made, a vital first step in any challenge will be to establish the grounds on which you will challenge the will. […]

in an inheritance dispute proprietary estoppel may assist where a promise that was made is not kept in a will

5 Things to Know about Proprietary Estoppel

Proprietary estoppel is a principle that courts use to resolve disputes. Proprietary Estoppel arises when a defendant has made promises or assurances that property will pass to the claimant, and the claimant has relied on these assurances to their detriment. For example, in Gillett v Holt [2001] Ch 210, a farmer, Mr Holt, made assurances to Mr Gillett that if he worked on his farm for far below the market […]

some advice to help you manage costs in a will dispute

3 Ways to Keep Costs Low in a Will Dispute

Challenging a will is potentially expensive, especially through the court system. If the judge rules in your favour, then in addition to any money from the estate, the judge might order the defendant to pay your legal costs. However, if the judge rules against you, as well as having to pay your own costs, you might be ordered to pay the costs of the other side. Will disputes can be […]

testamentary capacity is one way to challenge a will - make sure you consider these 5 points

5 Things to be Aware of when Claiming Lack of Testamentary Capacity

One of the ways to challenge a will is to make a case that the Testator, the person who made the will, did not have testamentary capacity. This is not always straightforward. In this blog, we look at 5 things to be aware of if you are considering a will dispute claim on this basis. Testamentary capacity or undue influence? In order to be valid, a will must be made […]

challenging wills and property co ownership

Property Co-Ownership and Challenging Wills

Wills are not the only documents that affect the beneficiaries of a deceased person’s property: other property transactions can also result in different people being left with – and without – an inheritance. Challenging wills is a last resort, and it is important to note that a will dispute is not the only means of challenging the distribution of someone’s estate. If you have reason to believe that a property […]

capacity to marry is based on many of the same principles as capacity to make a will

The Case of DMM: Alzheimer’s and Capacity to Marry

Creating a will is not the only way that the distribution of property in someone’s estate can change. According to section 18 of the Wills Act 1837, getting married revokes previous wills. If a new will is made after they are married, this will be the valid will. In the absence of a new will made after they are married, the couple will be subject to the intestacy rules, which […]

What steps could be taken to prevent will disputes? We offer some reflections

The Benefit of Hindsight: What Could Have Been Done to Prevent Will Disputes

We look at some lessons from case law that may help prevent will disputes in the future. Making a will is an important step for you to take to ensure that you property will be distributed as far as possible according to your wishes when you die. Without an up to date will, property will either be distributed according to a previous will, which might not reflect your wishes, or […]

Applyoing for probate can seem daunting - we can offer light at the end of the tunnel

How Does Probate Work?

What is Probate? When someone has passed away, there is a series of steps that must be taken with regards to their property, in order gain the right to distribute the estate according to their wishes as set out in their will – or if there is no will, the rules of intestacy. Probate is the process by which a deceased person’s will is declared valid, and executors of the […]

Undue influence is hard to prove - read out blog

5 Things to Know About Undue Influence

What is Undue Influence?  Undue influence is a ground upon which to challenge a will, calling into question the validity of the will itself. Claims for undue influence are made when someone suspects that the testator (the person who made the will) was under the influence of another person at the time the will was made. If a court finds that the will was made, either under coercion, or in […]

take independent legal advice to avoid a challenge to your will later on

Legal advice and Undue Influence

One ground for a will dispute is undue influence: when someone has been pressured or coerced into signing a will or other contract that affects their estate. The case of Brindley v Brindley [2018] EWHC 157 (Ch), provides an example of an undue influence claim which failed because the testator, the mother of the claimant, had sought independent legal advice before making the transfer. The Facts of Brindley v Brindley […]

Our guide to the role of the courts in a will dispute

The Role of the Courts in a Will Dispute

You may be concerned about a will and be worried that it doesn’t reflect the real intentions of the person who made it, or feel that you should have received a greater share of the estate. Challenging a will can be a daunting process, especially if you have no experience of the legal system and how the courts work. In this blog, we explain the role of the courts in […]

buying a house at market value can amount to reasonable financial provision under the Inheritance Act

Reasonable Provision: An Update on Lewis v Warner

An update on the case of Lewis v Warner – a case which looked at reasonable financial provision under the Inheritance Act, which was appealed recently to the Court of Appeal. Claiming Reasonable Financial Provision under the Inheritance Act 1975 Under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975, dependants of a deceased person can claim reasonable financial provision when the will does not adequately provide for them. We’ve […]

Challenging a will on grounds of mental capacity will inevitably mean considering the golden rule

3 Key Points about the Golden Rule

If you’re worried about the contents of a will and believe the person who made it was showing signs of dementia or mental vulnerability, it is well worth checking whether the solicitor who made the will followed the Golden Rule. What is the Golden Rule? The Golden Rule is an obligation for the solicitor preparing a will to ensure that the testator has sufficient mental capacity when the will is […]

in an inheritance dispute proprietary estoppel may assist where a promise that was made is not kept in a will

Proprietary Estoppel in an Inheritance Dispute

Proprietary Estoppel is a legal term that can mean very little to anyone who isn’t a lawyer. In an inheritance dispute, proprietary estoppel can offer a small but practical ray of hope when a will doesn’t reflect a promise that was made to someone by the testator while he or she was alive. What is Proprietary Estoppel? Proprietary estoppel is a principle used in the courts to allow individuals to […]

5 benefits of mediation in a will dispute

Five Reasons to Consider Mediation in a Will Dispute

What is Mediation? Disputing a will can be expensive, time consuming and emotionally draining if pursued through the courts. Mediation is an alternative approach to consider when deciding how to contest a will. This involves negotiating a settlement with the other party, outside of court. A will dispute is different to other types of legal claim because mediation is optional, not required. Five reasons to consider the option of taking […]

rules of intestacy in will disputes

When a Successful Will Dispute Means the Rules of Intestacy Matter

When challenging a will, claimants should consider what outcome would result in the event that the will is declared invalid. If the courts declare the only will of a deceased person invalid, the estate will be distributed according to the rules of intestacy. It is important when contesting a will, to be mindful of how these rules would distribute the property if the claim is successful, and specifically, whether they […]

undue influence claim

Proving an Undue Influence claim – is it the ‘only’ reason?

In the case of Wharton v Bancroft (2011) EWHC (Ch) 3250, a deceased man’s daughters disputed their father’s will, on grounds including undue influence, lack of capacity and want of knowledge and approval. This case highlights the difficulty of proving an undue influence claim, as well as the potential consequences for losing a will dispute. The Facts of Wharton v Bancroft Mr Wharton knew he had terminal cancer. He had […]

contesting wills

Contesting Wills: Five Things to Consider

Contesting wills is never something to be undertaken lightly. Consider these 5 issues before you decide what to do – and consider taking professional legal advice about your situation. Will you challenge the validity of the will, or just ask for reasonable financial provision?  Challenging the validity of a will can be done on the following grounds: When the will does not meet the requirements set out in the Wills […]

We look at whether an inheritance act claim survives the death of a claimant

Does An Inheritance Act Claim Die with the Claimant?

The Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975 allows individuals challenging a will to apply to the courts for inheritance beyond that stated in the will. Although English law recognises the principle that people should be free to leave their property as they wish, the Inheritance Act recognises that family and dependants should be left with reasonable financial provision after the testator dies. A claim under the Inheritance Act […]

challenging a will may be the only way to achieve justice

Things to know before challenging a will!

Challenging a will can be a daunting undertaking. In this blog we’ve put together some useful information that can help you understand more about what it means. A ‘will’ is an important legal document A will is a legal document which is made by an individual before his or her death. It states how their property, including money, any property or land they own, and anything else, should be left […]