Disputed Estates

It is sometimes the case that the Will of someone who has passed away causes serious and justifiable distress and discontent among those who are left behind. We have very considerable experience in representing clients who have found themselves in this position. On behalf of a wide range of clients, we have been involved in disputed Probate cases and in High Court challenges to the Wills and estate distribution generally. If you feel aggrieved at the content of such a Will, or if you have concerns about the circumstances in which such a Will has come about, please contact us immediately for advice.

Contesting a will: the available options

There are 3 main grounds upon which wills are commonly contested, as set out below. Bear in mind that strict time limits apply to contested wills, so it is essential to act quickly. In order to preserve all available remedies, please contact us without delay.

1. Invalid: It does not comply with the applicable law

The court may set aside a will for formal invalidity if it was not properly signed or witnessed.

The court may also set aside a will if the Deceased’s condition meant that they were not competent to make a will and/or they may not have understood or approved its terms. This is particularly so if the will was made shortly before death.

A will must reflect the free informed wishes of the Deceased. If someone bullied or tricked them into making a will (or changing their existing will) in terms that did not reflect their true wishes, the court may set it aside.

2. Ineffective: It does not reflect the Deceased's intentions

The court may be prepared to enforce, in whole or in part, prior agreements and promises made by the Deceased as to how they would leave their property.

The court will be prepared to correct an obvious mistake in some cases.

3. Inheritance Act: It does not provide for everyone it should

If a valid will (or the intestacy rules which apply where no will has been found) does not make reasonable financial provision for you, you may be able to make an Inheritance Act claim. 

Such a claim can be made by, among others, former spouses and civil partners, some partners, children (including adult children) and dependants. Again, time limits apply and it essential to contact us without delay.