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Contesting the Validity of a Will: A Brief Guide (Part 3)

November 20, 2023

In last week’s blog, we considered what some of the less common grounds were that one may rely upon to contest the validity of a Will and we also considered some factual examples that would support one being able to contest a Will.

A link to last week’s blog can be found here.

Contesting and defending the validity of a Will is a specialist area of law referred to by lawyers as ‘contentious probate’. Contentious probate claims should not be confused with claims made pursuant to The Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975 (“the Inheritance Act”).

Claims under the Inheritance Act are based on the Deceased’s final Will being valid, where eligible Claimants under the Inheritance Act put forward that:

1. although financial provision was made to the Claimant in the Deceased’s Will, the provision made was not reasonable; or
2. no financial provision was made for the Claimant by the Deceased at all the Claimant feels reasonable provision should be made.

Alternatively, it may be that the Deceased died intestate and the Claimant may contend that:

1. although by virtue of the intestacy rules, financial provision from the Deceased’s Estate is made to the Claimant, that provision is not reasonable; or
2. no financial provision is made to the Claimant by virtue of the intestacy rules and the Claimant feels provision should be made for them.

In this blog, we shall consider whether the Court is required to determine a contested Will claim and what happens next if you think you have legal grounds to contest a Will and wish to instruct a Solicitor.

Will the Court be required to determine a contested Will claim?

Not necessarily, and quite often no. It is usual for the person seeking to challenge the Will to produce a letter of claim to the Beneficiary or Beneficiaries under what is said to be the last Will and for the Beneficiary or Beneficiaries to answer the claim with a letter of response. The parties typically, and should in the first instance, attempt to settle the case without court involvement, through correspondence and a method of alternative dispute resolution such as a without prejudice meeting or a mediation. If these methods fail, it would then be usual for the claimant, should they wish to continue, to issue their claim and for a trial to take place, although the case could still settle any time before a trial.

I think I have legal grounds to contest a Will and wish to instruct a solicitor. What happens next?

Walker Foster can assist you. A specialist lawyer will attend you to go through the background and facts of your case in detail. They will investigate the grounds referred to in this article and assess your evidence, to be able to advise you as to the meris of your claim, with a view to drafting a letter of claim if you wish to proceed.


The information contained in this blog is for information purposes only. It by no means seeks to be exhaustive. It seeks to be a brief guide as to the circumstances in which one may seek to contest a Will. Walker Foster cannot accept any liability for any steps taken by someone who has read this Guide, acted upon it and that they feel results in loss to them. Specialist, case specific advice should be obtained before pursuing a claim to contest a Will and indeed, if you find yourself needing to defend a Will validity claim.

Walker Foster are able to advise and act for a party wishing to challenge the validity of a Will, or they are able to act for and advise a party defending an interest that they have under the Will that someone else is seeking to invalidate. Our lawyers are knowledgeable, experienced and passionate about assisting their clients in contentious probate matters. We seek to assist our clients in settling claims as quickly and cost effectively as possible and we have decades of experience of doing so.

Please contact us at / 01756 700200 to make an appointment with one of our specialist lawyers if you require assistance in relation to a contested Will matter or claim pursuant to the Inheritance Act. We can also assist with the removal of the Executors of an Estate. Meet the team here:

Mr Luca Angarano, Chartered Legal Executive

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