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Challenging a Will

There are many reasons for challenging a Will. If you have been left out of a Will or deprived of an inheritance we may be able to help you contest the Will.
There are remedies available for spouses, former spouses, partners, children (including adult children and step-children) and other dependants. However, you must challenge in good time as there is a 6 month time limit from the date of the Grant of Probate in which to make a claim in many cases.
If you want to find out whether we can contest a Will on your behalf please telephone us between 9am – 5pm on 01904 623 751 or 01904 501 508. We will be happy to discuss the matter with you in more detail. We may well be able to act on your behalf on a no win, no fee basis. Alternatively, please email us on enquiries@mitchellssolicitors.co.uk

Have you been sufficiently provided for?

If not and if you are a relative or a dependant of the Deceased you may be entitled to make a claim. Although in England and Wales a person can leave his Estate to whomever he chooses this is subject to the right to claim reasonable financial provision under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975.

Set out below are some of the most common grounds for contesting a Will:

Invalid Will

  • The Will has not been signed or witnessed correctly
  • The Will has been damaged or altered
  • The Deceased did not have mental capacity
  • The Deceased did not know or approve of the Will, i.e. did not understand what he was signing
  • The Deceased was unduly influenced by another person into signing the Will.
  • The Will is a forgery or has been altered fraudulently.

In these situations where the Will is found to be invalid the Estate will pass under the terms of any pre-existing Will. If there is no earlier Will then the intestacy rules will apply.

Mistakes in a Will

Where there has been a clerical error or instructions have been misinterpreted which has resulted in the Will being wrongly drafted we can apply to the Court to rectify the Will.

Has the Estate been mismanaged?

Have you lost out financially because the Executors have acted wrongly? Many Executors choose to administer the Estate without taking legal advice. If they have not followed the correct rules they can be held liable and order to carry out their duties correctly.

Were you promised a legacy from the Deceased?

The Deceased can leave his property to whomever he likes in his Will. If the Deceased promised something to you and you relied upon that promise and acted to your disadvantage you may be able to make a claim (on the basis of proprietary estoppel).

Do you need our professional help?

We have a dedicated team of contentious probate lawyers with many number of years experience between them.

Our team here at Mitchells is headed by Philip Chapman who has been dealing with disputed inheritance claims for over 20 years. Philip has a successful track record of handling these claims in both the County Court and the Chancery Division of the High Court. Philip is registered as a member of the Association of Contentious Trust and Probate Specialist (ACTAPS).

Philip’s recent successes include:

Lomax v Greenslade (2018)
In this recently reported Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975 claim Philip recovered the whole value of the estate for our clients. The case has been described as making “an unusually successful award for adult children” having been presented with “modesty and skill by Philip Chapman”.

Harmesh Lal Ram and Others v Rashpal Lal Ram Chauhan (2017)
Philip succeeded in overturning the Will where there was a real doubt as to capacity. In this case Philip managed to shift the burden of proof which resulted in the Will being declared invalid.

Ritchie v Joslin (2009)
In this widely reported Inheritance Act claim by two brothers against their sister the Deceased (the client’s mother) left a Will in favour of a charity which was set aside on the grounds lack of mental capacity.

Here we list a few examples of some of the cases we have dealt with:

  • A claim where probate was wrongly granted where the Will was a forgery. In this case the Estate was transferred to the beneficiaries under the original Will.
  • A claim where the Will was held to be invalid as it had not been witnessed properly. The whole Estate reverted to the civil partner under the intestacy rules.
  • A claim by an adult child with a disability who was surviving on benefits who had been left a small legacy. In this case the client managed to secure a substantial lump sum under Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975.