Leaving a Will is the most effective way to formalise how a person would like their estate dealt with upon their death. Sadly, however, disputes sometimes arise over the contents of a Will and, in such a scenario, it may be necessary to actually go through the process of contesting the Will itself.

I've read the Will, I don't agree with the contents, what should I do?

The good news is that you can challenge it. In simple terms a Will is the legal document by which a person (the testator) sets out how their estate will be disposed of when they die, but unfortunately things don't always go to plan. If you want to challenge a Will, it's important to speak to inheritance dispute solicitors as soon as possible because there is a limitation period of six months to initiate a claim. Oratto has a number of member lawyers who specialise in dealing with disputing the contents of a Will and are available immediately to advise you. Click through to the profiles on the right-hand side of this page to find the member lawyer who is right for you.

What are the grounds for contesting a Will?

These will differ according to individual circumstance; however, broadly speaking, if there were suspicious circumstances when the Will was drafted, or something has gone wrong, then a Will can be disputed. However, it must be a genuine, valid reason and not just spurious accusations of one relative benefitting financially more than another. Inheritance dispute solicitors from Oratto's list of members will be able to clarify whether your circumstances fit the necessary criteria.

Particular grounds:

Lack of testamentary capacity - To use this ground, you must be able to prove that the testator did not fully understand what they were doing at the time the Will was drawn up. This can be slightly more straightforward than other grounds for contesting a Will because medical grounds will usually apply. This is a broad category which seeks to establish whether the person understood:

  • the effect of the Will they constructed
  • the amount of property that they had to distribute
  • the validity of any claims to which credit must be given
  • they did not suffer from any disorder of the mind which would have an undue influence on their decision-making process

Demonstrating undue influence

This is often a complex situation to prove, it must differ from a simple expression of preference for one beneficiary over another and fit firmly into certain categories:

  • intimidation
  • coercion
  • deception
  • manipulation

Solid facts will be needed to establish whether this ground applies or not, the main one being evidence of coercion.

The defence of a contested Will relies on not having valid grounds established by the claimant.

Make sense of an inheritance dispute

Oratto member inheritance dispute solicitors will be able to discuss your circumstances with you and assess your grounds for contesting a Will. We can connect you instantly with a member lawyer who can explain how your situation fits within the legal parameters and advise on the best way to proceed.

Alternatively, you can browse from the list of member solicitors featured on this page as they will all specialise in acting in inheritance disputes - either for the claimant or the defence. Select a member solicitor today or use the Oratto Match facility to ensure the most appropriate legal expertise for your case.

Oratto – supporting you through an inheritance dispute