Contesting a will

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After someone has died, there might be concerns about whether their will is in fact valid and truly represents their wishes. Such concerns can arise in a number of ways and may result in will disputes.

If a court finds that a will is invalid, the deceased's estate will be administered in accordance with their previous will, or if there are no previous wills, in accordance with the intestacy rules. A successful claim challenging a will can therefore have significant consequences for the beneficiaries.

Each case is unique to its own facts and any individual with such concerns about the validity of a will should seek guidance and support. We can advise on whether the circumstances surrounding the preparation of a will do give rise to a claim and the necessary investigations and procedures to either pursue or defend such a claim.

Investigations into the background to the preparation and execution of a will may include obtaining medical records and information from the solicitor who prepared the will, and entering a caveat which prevents a grant of probate from being issued.

We offer expert advice on:

  • cases where the testator did not intend to make a will (lack of testamentary intention)
  • the will is not validly executed (lack of due execution)
  • the testator was pressured or coerced into making the will (undue influence)
  • the testator did not really know what they were signing (lack of knowledge and approval)
  • the testator did not have capacity to make a will (lack of testamentary capacity)
  • fraud or forgery

Recent work highlights

Handwritten codicil

Acting on behalf of a defendant beneficiary of an estate where there was a dispute as to the validity of a handwritten codicil purportedly executed by the deceased in favour of another beneficiary.

Significant settlement

Challenging a will on grounds of lack of testamentary capacity and successfully negotiating a settlement.

Related expertise

Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP

Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP is a limited liability partnership registered in England and Wales with registered number OC311575 and is authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority under number 419867.

Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP