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Challenging a Will in England and Wales

Challenging wills has become more commonplace in recent years with explanations for this growth including the more complex fragmented families in society, the absence of adequate pensions/financial security for many baby boomers and younger; together with the exponential growth in property values.  

Here we briefly summarise the usual grounds for challenging a will.  There may (subject to your unique circumstances) be other options for making a claim against a deceased’s estate, such as making an application for reasonable financial provision.  


Typical grounds for challenging a will include

  • Lack of testamentary capacity: the deceased did not have the testamentary capacity to give instructions / make their will and understand the consequences of making their last will
  • Undue influence: the deceased was pressured or influenced into creating a will or changing their will against their wishes
  • Fraud or forgery: is the will genuine; was deception involved in its creation and / or execution?
  • Lack of knowledge and approval: the deceased did not understand or approve the contents of their last will.


Act Promptly:

There is a time limit for challenging a will. In most cases, it should be done within six months from the grant of probate.


Gather Evidence:

Collect together as much as evidence as you can find that supports your claim, for example try and obtain the deceased’s medical and Social Services records, obtain witness statements from key family and friends and collate together any other relevant documentation that you think may support a challenge.   


Consult a Solicitor:

Engage a solicitor who specialises in contentious probate and inheritance disputes. They can provide legal advice based on the unique facts of your case.


David Denovan-Smith at SME specialises in will disputes and is also a member of the Association of Contentious Trust and Probate Specialists (ACTAPS). For more information on wills and probate disputes or any other matters, please contact him at or call us on 01905 723561.

Added: 16 Jan 2024 15:57

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