Contested Probate

Caversham Solicitors regularly acts as Executors and Trustees of Wills and our expertise in handling probate evolved to see us representing a growing number of clients where a Will is contested. We have both successfully defended Wills that are contested and also been able to fruitfully contest Wills.

In most contested cases it is necessary to prove one of four areas: lack of capacity to make a Will; invalid Will; claims for financial maintenance and undue influence. At Caversham Solicitors we are experienced in handling litigation in all these areas.

‘Lack of capacity to make a Will’ is self-explanatory and means that the person who made the Will was not actually able to comprehend the nature of actually making the Will, for example if they were suffering from a form of dementia at the time it was written.

‘Invalid Wills’ are those that do not comply with the Wills Act which requires all Wills to be in writing, signed, dated and witnessed by two independent people who do not benefit from the Will. It is the failure to follow the rules of the Act which will allow for successfully contesting the Will on these grounds.

‘Claims for financial maintenance’ is another way to challenge a Will and you must show you were financially dependent on the deceased in some way before they died. For instance, if a dependent wife was excluded from a Will.

‘Undue influence’ is where one or more people have brought pressure for a Will to be changed or re-written. It can also amount to a criminal offence of Fraud.

Other cases that can be pursued can include where an Executor has behaved unreasonably or where clear promises of inheritance have not been honoured within a Will or where clauses within a Will are unclear in meaning.

Our success in contesting probate on these grounds should offer peace of mind that we will effectively represent you if you wish to contest a Will; it also shows that we are well placed to defend you if a Will is being contested.

It is always important to seek timely legal advice and this is crucial if you wish to contest a Will and we urge you to contact Robert Syms at promptly if you have any concerns about a Will.

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