the rules of intestacy

How to contest a will in the UK

Contesting a will is one of the most emotionally challenging legal disputes you can take on, but if you feel that someone you love has passed on and their will doesn’t accurately reflect what they wanted, it may be worth contesting their will.

It’s sometimes necessary to contest a will if you feel it is invalid for one of a number of reasons. If you can bring into doubt the validity of the will, then you may be able to influence the way an estate is divided. In this article, we consider how to contest a will in the UK and what this process looks like.

Why contest a will?

When someone passes away, their will is a legally binding document that sets out exactly how they want their estate to be divided between family, friends, and loved ones. Sometimes, the contents of a will can be difficult for families to hear, especially in cases where a will allocates inheritance unequally. However the estate is divided, all that matters is that the will reflects the true intentions of the person who passed away.

If you don’t feel this is the case, you could contest the will. Contesting a will can be challenging, but in many situations, it results in a much more fair distribution of inheritance that’s closer to the wishes of the deceased.

How to contest a will in the UK

If you’re unhappy with the contents of a will, and you feel the will does not accurately reflect the wishes of the deceased, you can contest the will with the help of a solicitor or legal professional. The process of contesting a will usually starts with mediation, and if necessary, proceeds to court if an agreement isn’t reached.

The first step is establishing whether a will has been properly signed and witnessed because if it hasn’t, it is invalid. However, even if a will has been signed and witnessed properly, there are other grounds to contest will validity.

Grounds for contesting a will

In order to contest a will, you must have sufficient grounds. Examples of sufficient grounds for contesting a will include:

• Lack of mental capacity to testify

• Under influence or coercion

• Lack of knowledge and approval

• Forgery and fraud

It’s also possible to challenge a will if you depended financially on the deceased person and their will does not make sufficient provisions for you.

How long does contesting a will take?

Depending upon the complexity of the situation, contesting a will can take a long time. If the case proceeds beyond mediation to court, it can often take between 12 and 24 months. This is one reason why it’s better to resolve will disputes via mediation rather than going through court. All involved parties must be prepared to wait a significant period of time before receiving any inheritance when a will is contested.

Get in touch

To find out more about how to contest a will in the UK or other will dispute issues, contact us. Get in touch to arrange a free will claim assessment.