What are the grounds to dispute the validity of a Will

As a beneficiary (or potential beneficiary) in the deceased’s estate you may be the person contesting the validity of a will or defending another beneficiary’s claim that the will is invalid.

The validity of a will can be challenged if any of the following grounds apply:

  • the will may not be valid because it failed to comply with the formalities of the execution, for example because it was not correctly signed and/or witnessed;
  • even if the will was executed properly, the deceased did not have the knowledge of or appreciate the content of the will when they signed it (known as lack of knowledge and approval);
  • the deceased did not have the mental capacity at the time of providing their instructions due to a medical condition, such as dementia (known as lack of testamentary capacity);
  • if someone pressured or influenced the deceased to make a will or amend it (known as undue influence);
  • if the will was fraudulently made or signature forged;
  • if the language used in the will is not clear.

It is important to bear in mind that if a claim to challenge the validity of a will is successful then the deceased’s estate will be distributed in accordance with their earlier will.  If there is no earlier will, then the Rules of Intestacy will apply.  Rules of Intestacy are different in England & Wales from those in Scotland and Northern Ireland; which rules will apply depends on the location of the deceased’s estate.

Inheritance disputes sadly arise at a time of grief and usually involve close family members.  Our Dispute Resolution team are experienced in dealing with Contentious Probate matters and will strive to bring the best resolution for you.  We advise both types of beneficiaries as well as Executors of the estate who may find themselves to be a party in an inheritance dispute.

If you would like to discuss how we can assist you, please call us on 01823 251571 or send e-mail taunton@risdonhosegood.com