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Hewitsons are regularly consulted by individuals who wish to contest the validity of someone’s Will after their death. Disputing the validity of a Will successfully is not straightforward and can be especially challenging. The ground upon which you seek to rely in order to set the Deceased’s Will aside and the evidence you amass in support of proving that ground, will influence the strength of any claim that is ultimately made.
Testamentary freedom, that is the principle that a Testator should be at liberty to leave their estate to whoever they wish is still an overriding principle in English law, providing the Will is a valid Will to start with. The grounds for challenging a Will are therefore fairly limited and are as follows:-
1. That the Will was not properly executed.
2. That the signature on the Will is not that of the Testator.
3. That the Deceased did not possess the necessary testamentary capacity when creating their Will.
4. That the Testator was unaware of the contents of the Will, or did not approve them.
5. That the Testator was subjected to undue influence by a third party.
Fairness and achieving equality between those who expected to benefit from the Deceased’s Will is not relevant. The Will has to be invalid based upon one of the grounds listed above, in order for it to be set aside.
It would only be of benefit to you in contesting the last Will of the Deceased, if, as a beneficiary, you would receive more under their directly previous Will (or under the intestacy rules where there is no previous Will). This is because if the current Will is capable of being set aside, the Deceased’s previous Will (if they had one), will be resurrected. So your legal standing to bring a claim to contest the Will, must be established first, before time, effort and money is spent investigating one of the grounds listed above.
Contesting a Will without the support of a solicitor, can be a difficult process. Having a specialist solicitor advising and representing you, will greatly increase your likelihood of gathering the information and evidence required, in order to proceed with such a claim.
Should you require any further advice or assistance on contesting a Will, please call Hewitsons today on 0330 311 0885, to speak to one of our solicitors. We offer a free initial consultation, to all new clients, lasting up to 30 minutes. Alternatively, please complete our online form
and a member of our team will be in touch to discuss your enquiry.