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Challenging a Will – Can it be done?

Published on 22 September 2017 | Modified on 20 September 2023

Written by Stacey Bennett

In short, the answer is yes. Challenging a Will is a sensitive issue for both families and friends at what is already a difficult time.  Although a Will can be challenged there is no guarantee that this will be successful.   It is important that all relevant issues are considered.  

What are the grounds for challenging a Will?

 A Will can be challenged for one or more of the following reasons:

  1. Lack of formalities.  In essence, the Will was not properly prepared;
  2. Undue influence or fraud against the person who made the Will;
  3. Lack of mental capacity of the person who made the Will;
  4. Lack of knowledge and approval of the Will and it’s effect;
  5. Subsequent cancellation of a Will.


What other things should I consider?

Because disputes of this nature inevitably arise following the death of a close friend or family member, it is always important to consider the impact a dispute of this type may have on friendships and family relations. You need to be alert to the cost consequences of an unsuccessful challenge to a Will. You must consider alternative dispute resolution as a first step with a view to resolving the matter to the satisfaction of all parties and (if possible) avoiding court proceedings which can prove costly. Think about the consequences of successfully challenging a Will.  What will the outcome be? For example, if a Will is successfully challenged then any previous Will may well take effect. This may have a less successful outcome than the Will which you are seeking to challenge. There may be no previous Will in which case the Estate would pass in accordance with the Intestacy Rules.  These rules apply when a person dies without making a Will and they set out who should inherit the estate in such circumstances. Again, this may be less favourable to all concerned who intend to challenge the Will.  


 There is little if any merit in incurring costs of challenging a Will if this will produce little or no benefit to you and along the way may jeopardise relationships with both families and friends.  

Next Steps

 If you would like to discuss the merits of challenging a Will then please do not hesitate to contact our specialist Litigation Team who will be happy to help.  Our telephone number for this purpose is 01270 762 325. For more information see our litigation services page.

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