When a loved one passes away, it can be difficult to process the fact that their wishes may have been disregarded in the last will and testament or that you feel they were not in their right mind when making the will. If you feel their intentions have not been properly represented in the will or their will should not be valid, you may be considering contesting.

Whether you feel you have been left out of the will, you haven’t received what you expected, or the will doesn’t match up with your loved one’s wishes, challenging a will is a complicated process and is only applicable in certain situations.

Here, the contentious probate experts at JMW explain the legal grounds for contesting a will and the evidence you will need to provide to prove your case in order to help you decide whether you should try to contest a will in your specific circumstances.

Can I contest a will if I am unhappy with it?

If you are simply unhappy with a will by either being left out of it or receiving less of a gift than you were expecting, you are likely not able to contest it as these are not legal grounds to do so. To determine whether contesting a will is an option for you, it is important to consider the legal grounds for making a challenge, which include:

  • The will not representing the wishes of the deceased that were expressed to you before they died
  • Forgery of the document
  • Lack of mental capacity to understand the will at the time it was made
  • Coercion of changes to the will by third parties

In addition, if you have been financially dependent on the deceased and have been left out of the will, you may be able to apply for ‘reasonable provision’ under the Inheritance Act.

Am I likely to succeed in a will challenge?

If you are considering challenging a will, it is important to take action as quickly as possible. This can be done by filing a caveat online, or – if your concerns are more serious – by speaking to an expert contentious probate solicitor.

Challenging a will requires evidence that can demonstrate discrepancies between the deceased’s intentions and the will, or that the deceased was not of sound mind when making it. An experienced solicitor can help you identify if there is a case to be made and provide advice on how best to pursue it. If successful, this could ensure that your loved one’s wishes are respected, protect people who may have been hurt, and even uncover criminal activities related to the will.

Having legal grounds to contest a will is necessary for you to obtain the outcome you desire and JMW’s legal experts can assist in evaluating your case and determining if contesting a will is an option. JMW strives to provide reliable support and guidance so you have peace of mind with regards to challenging a will.  If you wish to contact them to discuss your situation, you can reach them on alison.parry@jmw.co.uk.

Written and supplied by JMW Solicitors LLP