Contesting a will

If you want to contest a Will, it's vital that you seek legal advice as soon as possible. Tees can guide you through the process of making a claim.

Caroline Metcalf, Bishop's Stortford
Caroline Metcalf, Partner and dispute resolution specialist in Bishops Stortford

Contest a Will - legal advice

As solicitors, we wish everyone would make a Will. Unfortunately, even when they do, the Will doesn’t always make it clear what the deceased person wanted or intended. People can have widely differing views of what the deceased person meant. Or, you may have concerns over the validity of the Will.

In these circumstances, you may wish to contest the Will. Our specialist contentious probate solicitors can guide you through the legal process - and help you secure a favourable outcome.

Reasons for contesting a Will

There are various reasons why you might challenge someone’s Will. These include:

Lack of capacity

If you believe that the person didn’t have the mental capacity to make their Will or change it.

Provision for dependants

You can also challenge someone’s Will if you think they haven’t made reasonable provision for their dependants - for example, a co-habitee, spouse or civil partner, their minor children or adult children in constrained financial circumstances.

Fraudulent Will, forgery or improper execution

You can challenge a Will if you think it’s a forgery or if you think it may not have been executed in the actual presence of the witnesses named in the Will.

Undue influence

If you believe that the deceased person was coerced by someone else to make their Will in a certain way. 

How we can help you with contested probate

When someone has died, there are lots of things to think about and their Will is just one of them. It can come as a bit of a shock when you realise that the deceased person’s Will isn’t what you were expecting, perhaps due to a previous promise made to you by the deceased. You’ll want to talk to someone who has the knowledge and experience to help you decide what to do for the best. Our inheritance and estate dispute lawyers are experts at dealing with challenges to Wills. They also know that this kind of disagreement can divide families and so has to be handled with care and sensitivity.

Friendly and approachable

You’ll find our solicitors helpful and easy to talk to. We’ll explain what you can do about the disputed will and we’ll give you realistic advice in plain English. We’ve worked with lots of people over the years, so we can give you practical advice to help you make up your mind about what you want to do.

Talk to us

We have the legal expertise and practical knowledge to help sort out disagreements over a Will. Give us a call for a free and confidential conversation and let’s talk about how we can help.

Our specialist lawyers are based in:

  • Cambridgeshire: Cambridge
  • Essex: Brentwood, Chelmsford, and Saffron Walden
  • Hertfordshire: Bishop's Stortford and Royston 

But we can help you wherever you are in England and Wales.

Call our Dispute Resolution & Litigation solicitors on 0800 0131165

For a free initial chat, at no obligation, or fill out our enquiry form and a solicitor will get in touch.

Enquiry form


How do I contest a will?

Common reasons to challenge or contest a will include:

  • The will isn’t legally correct
  • lack of testamentary capacity (of the person who made the will)
  • lack of financial provision for dependants
  • undue influence 
  • forgery or fraud.
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What happens when a Will is contested?

A Will can only be contested on specific legal grounds.  If the party who intends to contest the Will is unable to reach a resolution with the executors and beneficiaries of the Will, then an application will need to be made to court, setting out the basis of the challenge to the Will.

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When can I contest a Will?

Usually, it is important to take advice quickly following a death, for a number of reasons, if you think you may have a claim.  A claim for reasonable provision must be issued within 6 months of the grant of probate  (which can be extended in certain circumstances). Therefore, it is necessary to contact the executors of the estate as soon as possible, to try and reach an agreement, without having to issue court proceedings.  The same time limit does not apply if you are challenging the Will, but it is sensible to proceed as soon as possible, as so as to avoid unnecessary evidential difficulties and to avoid adverse tax or cost implications for the estate. 

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Who pays to contest a Will?

Each party is responsible for their own legal costs.  An agreement may be reached whereby your legal costs are paid by the estate.  If your claim is determined by the court and you succeed, you can ask the court to determine which party should pay your costs.

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How much does it cost to contest a Will?

The overall cost of  dispute will depend on the issues involved, the number of witnesses and documentary evidence involved, whether expert evidence is needed and the point at which a case is concluded.

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Make an enquiry today

Tees coronavirus update

We’re open and here to help you. We’re running as normal with our employees all working from home.

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