Wills & Probate Disputes

Do you have a Will dispute?

Contesting the Will of a loved one can feel daunting but disputes over Wills are more common than you think. If you have been left out of a Will, not been left as much as you thought you would be or if you think the Will is wrong in some way you might want to contest it.


Do you have a Probate Dispute?

If you feel someone’s estate is not being managed properly we can help you. Our solicitors are experts in resolving probate disputes including disagreements between beneficiaries, dealing with an executor who has mismanaged an estate, any dispute over the interpretation of the Will or value of the assets involved.

Probate disputes can be carried out if there is no Will and you want to challenge how an estate has been divided. If you were particularly close to someone and can see their legacy is not being handled in the way it should we can assist you.

We receive many questions in relation to Wills and Probate disputes. Below we answer a few. If you have a question or need expert advice, please do get in touch.

Anyone can contest a Will – normally it is carried out by a beneficiary or someone that expected to inherit and didn’t.

As soon as possible. However, you can contest a Will even if probate has been granted. If you used Kidd Rapinet to help you contest a Will we would write to the executor and other beneficiaries that the validity of the Will was being contested.

If you are challenging the validity of the Will or making a claim under the Inheritance Act then your claim will be against the executor of the Will and the beneficiaries. If the person died without a Will you can still make a claim against the beneficiaries that inherited under the rules of intestacy.

If a Will has been proved to be invalid and made by a professional, you can seek to make a professional negligence claim.

Disputing the Will of a deceased person’s estate isn’t particularly pleasant, but we can guide and advise you to help make the process easier.

Often if a trust or similar has been set up the testator may have added a ‘no contest’ clause to prevent any Will disputes. These clauses are often specific to a particular asset or person and usually made because the testator believes someone may try to make a claim for something they don’t want them to have.

Challenging a will is still possible and if the Will is found to be invalid then the ‘no contest’ will no longer apply. However, it is worth checking the terms of the clause because you could potentially lose part of the estate you have inherited if you make an unsuccessful challenge.

If a person dies without a Will (known as intestacy) – there are rules which set out who can inherit assets or an estate. Sadly, these rules may not reflect the deceased’s wishes.

Often in the case of no Will there can be disputes over an unmarried partner that hasn’t been provided for, perhaps it’s a child or a dependant that has not been provided for. In some cases, estranged partners have inherited an entire estate which can be very upsetting for the family.

If you need to challenge a Will or have a probate dispute, please get in touch with our team. We have many years’ experience in handling difficult situations and gaining a good outcome.

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    1. Lack of testamentary capacity

    This means that the person did not have the mental capacity to make a Will. Anyone making a Will must not be suffering from any mental illness that affects their ability to make decisions, they must understand they are making a Will, be aware of the value of their estate and how it will be divided upon their death.

    Anyone making a Will must be of sound mind and if there are changes to the Will towards the end of someone’s life when they have begun to lose mental capacity this is grounds for contesting a Will.

    2. Lack of Valid Execution

    If a Will isn’t drawn up correctly this is called a lack of valid execution. A Will is not valid unless:

    • It is in writing
    • It is signed by the person making the Will
    • There were 2 witnesses present at the signing
    • The testator (the person making the Will) signed the Will

    It is the responsibility of a solicitor or professional Will writer to ensure the Will is executed correctly. If the Will is not valid, there is a possibility of making a claim for professional negligence.

    3. Lack of knowledge and approval

    Are there suspicious circumstances e.g. a large gift to a person that helped the testator make their Will? If the person making the Will wasn’t entirely aware of all of the contents this is known as lack of knowledge and approval.

    4. Undue influence

    Undue influence can be a term you can use in a Will dispute. Undue influence in respect of a Will means when someone has pressurized or coerces the testator to make or change an existing Will. To successfully challenge a Will you will need to show that someone has directly benefited by manipulating the situation. In the case of undue influence you will need to prove that there is no other reasonable explanation for that person to have become a beneficiary.

    5. Fraud or Forgery

    Fraud or forgery in the case of a Will is rare but if it is proved the Will is invalid. Forgery is where a person fakes a Will in someone’s name and forges their signature whereas fraud is where someone has made the testator cut someone from their will by using false information about another beneficiary.

    We’re here to support your next step

    Request a video call, phone call or an in-person meeting

    “Cyrus can only be described as an expert in his field. Our probate dispute had all the signs of becoming highly contentious but he dealt with the matter and all concerned sensitively and swiftly – we can’t recommend Cyrus highly enough.”
    Wills and Probate Dispute client, Beaconsfield, Buckinghamshire
    Cameron KinrossWills and Probate Disputes