Upgrade to ChromeUpgrade to FirefoxUpgrade to Internet ExplorerUpgrade to Safari

Who can contest a Will?

As the number of disputes over Wills grow, with the Courts having to rule in many cases, the question ‘Who can contest a Will?’ is being asked more and more often.

Basically, anyone who has a beneficial interest, or a potential beneficial interest, in the dead person’s estate can contest a Will if they feel they have a valid legal claim.

Most often, those contesting a Will are the surviving spouse, children, cohabitee or other dependents including adult children who were being financially supported by the deceased and children who were treated as a close family member even if they were not actually related.

Please see our legal guide What are the Grounds for Contesting a Will? to read more about what these are.

Typically, people who contest a Will, fall into one of the following categories:

Family members

Most Wills are contested by family member.

If a Will is contested, and declared invalid, any previous Will made by the testator will be admitted to probate instead.

If there wasn’t a previous Will, the estate will be treated as if there was never any Will in the first place which means the rules of intestacy apply.

Intestacy means someone has died without leaving a valid Will and means the estate will be distributed under certain rules with a strict order as to who can inherit. Only direct family will inherit under intestacy, not unmarried partners or friends.

Being a blood relative can be very important, particularly under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependents) Act 1975 which specifically lists those entitled to claim. This includes the spouse of the deceased and the deceased’s children even if those children are now adults.

Someone who was financially dependent on the deceased

Someone who was financially reliant or maintained by the deceased person can contest a Will. For example, someone who was helped financially or provided with accommodation by the deceased.

A beneficiary under the Will or an earlier Will

A beneficiary who has not received their inheritance due to the failure of an executor can make a claim on the grounds that the executor may be acting unreasonably in failing to distribute the estate. Also, a beneficiary named in an earlier Will may be able to claim.

Someone owed money

Sometimes, those you are owed money can make a claim against an estate if a Section 27 Notice has been issued seeking creditors to come forward.

Promised something by the deceased?

If you were promised land or property or individual items by the deceased, and then these were not left to you in the Will to your detriment, it may be possible to claim.

For help and advice about contesting a Will, please contact Wards Solicitors’ Probate Disputes team

Get in Touch

Request a call back

If you’d prefer us to call you back, just use the form below to give us your number and the best time to call. It would also be useful if you could give us some idea of what you’d like to discuss.

Close

UPDATE August 2020

Wards Solicitors is open and our teams continue to work on existing cases and take on new business and clients.

From early August, we are pleased to announce that we will slowly be starting to re-open some of our branches to clients, but all appointments must be pre-booked.

Availability for face-to- face meetings in branches will be limited, and remote contact with teams – via phone, email or video call – is preferred wherever possible.  Our prime concern remains the safety of our clients and our staff.

Please note that all visitors to our offices must, by law, wear a face covering.

We cannot accept drop-in appointments.

How to get in touch:

  • Please email or telephone your usual lawyer or team, or
  • Please telephone the branch most convenient to you between 9am and 5:30pm, or email info@wards.uk.com at any time and we will respond to you as soon as possible.

We look forward to hearing from you.  A list of our 11 branches is available here.

Thank you.

Wards Solicitors LLP