Many potential clients approach UK lawyers requesting information abut how to dispute a will. It is often difficult to find a probate lawyer with experience of courtroom disputes however our solicitors do deal with contested probate cases in a court of law. With wills being such fertile grounds for legal disputes, it is critical that you have a solicitor who possesses both skill sets. The law lays down a host of technical requirements for executing a valid will meaning that an unhappy potential beneficiary often has numerous ways to attack the validity of a will in court. Other problems arise when someone who was not included in the will is claiming a right to some of the assets of the estate and a dependant of the deceased who was not adequately provided for in the will can also take legal action to demand support. Our solicitors will provide you with legal advice at no cost and with no further obligation on how to dispute a will or on other issues related to disputing a will or contested probate. Simply call us on our help line or complete the contact form or email our offices.

Requirements for a Valid Will

Probate law sets forth precise parameters for determining the validity of a will which effectively gives information on how to dispute a will. Failure to follow even one of these mandates can invalidate the entire document and provide grounds to dispute the will. Some of these issues are time sensitive, so it is crucial that you obtain legal advice from a solicitor as soon as possible after an issue arises. A potential beneficiary unhappy with the terms of the will has ample means of contesting its validity. Legal action can be taken if a will fails to satisfy any of the requirements below:

~ the testator must be at least 18 years old at the time of making the will; wills made by minors are invalid
~ the testator must have made the document under their own free will, without suffering undue influence from another individual
~ the testator must fully understand the meaning of the will and be considered of sound mind
~ the testator must sign the will in the presence of two witnesses who must then also sign the will
~ if a witness to the will is also a beneficiary, that individual automatically loses their inheritance

Lost or Revoked Wills

Sometimes the testator’s original will is lost. In that case, the proposed executor may go before the High Court and seek a grant of probate by proving the validity of a copy of the will. Obviously someone who was a beneficiary of an earlier will but is not a beneficiary of the will in question might want to start legal proceeding to dispute the will in order to challenge the copy. The argument would be that the original will was not in fact lost but was instead destroyed by the deceased in an act of revocation. If the lost will was actually revoked by destruction, then the earlier will would be valid and its terms would dictate the distribution of the deceased’s assets. It is no small task to prove the intentions of a deceased person and a great deal of evidence and many witnesses must be called to support claims for and against the validity of the will.

Support for Dependants

A dependant can be a spouse, partner, minor or mentally disabled person. Should the testator have a dependant, the will must provide for that dependant’s support. If the will doesn’t include adequate provisions for the dependant, the dependant can take legal action to demand support. The grounds for the contest are that the deceased failed to meet their legal obligation of financial support.