We’re Here To Help You Contest A Will

When is a Will Invalid?

All Wills must comply with the Wills Act which says a Will must be in writing, signed, dated and witnessed by two independent witnesses, who are not beneficiaries of the Will. These witnesses must be present to witness the signing of the Will by the Testator (the person who is making the Will) and must sign the Will themselves.

The person making the will must also have the capacity to make it, which means they must be over 18 (unless in the armed forces) and have the mental capacity to make it. In other words they must be able to understand the extent of their property/estate and be aware of the people who they would usually be expected to provide for (even if they choose not to). They must also be free from any delusion of the mind that would cause them reason not to benefit those people. These principals were first established in a very old case called Banks v Goodfellow in 1870. The judgement in this case used alongside the Mental Capacity Act 2005, still holds fast today.

If any of these rules are not complied with, the Will is not valid.

Call us now on 01935 823883, if you think a Will is not valid

Challenging an Invalid Will

How Do You Prove a Will is Invalid?

If you wish to challenge a Will, you believe is invalid, we suggest contacting a Solicitor, such as Routh Clarke, as it is not an easy process. The burden of proof lies with the contester to prove the Will is not valid and this will undoubtedly need the services of independent witnesses, who may be able to give vital evidence. For example, the deceased’s GP may be able to show that there was a lack of mental capacity, a calligrapher may be able to show that the signature was not the Will makers. Perhaps an investigator may be required to find out if both witnesses were present when the Will was signed, or perhaps they are close friends of the main beneficiary? Whatever your thoughts as to the Will’s validity, it is best to prove it one way or another using the services of an experience solicitor.

What are your next steps?

If you are in this situation and would like to speak to someone who understands this area of law, give us a call for a non-obligatory discussion and we’re sure we can help you work out your next steps.

See our other pages on Contesting Wills

  • Undue influence - this is when the person making the Will is pressurised to make or change their Will.
  • Fraudulent Wills – this is when a signature is altered or perhaps when a previous Will is destroyed.
  • Lack of capacity to make a Will - the person making the will must have the mental capacity to make it. In other words they must be able to appreciate and understand what effect their Will might have on their estate, meaning they must be able to comprehend the extent of their estate and be thoughtful of the claims that could be made on it. These principals were first established in a very old case called Banks v Goodfellow in 1870, but the judgement still holds fast today. Will disputes are now more frequent when the person making the will (known as testator ) may have been suffering from a form of dementia.
  • Claims for financial maintenance – If you are in some way financially dependent on the deceased and have not been provided for in their Will, you can make a claim under the Inheritance Act 1975. However, there is only a limited time period to do this, 6 months from the date of the Grant of Probate.

Need help with a Will dispute, call us on 01935 823883