Inheritance disputes

Magnifying Glass And Document Close UpAfter a person’s death, it is possible for relatives and beneficiaries may not be happy with the parts of the will or in the way the executors are carrying out their duties properly. A will can be disputed for a number of reasons.

Mental capacity

When a person makes a will, they must have what is referred to as testamentary capacity (they are of sound mind, memory and understanding). If it can be shown that the deceased did not have testamentary capacity, the will could be declared invalid.

Undue influence

If it can be shown that the deceased was forced or pressured into signing a will then it will be invalid.

Invalid procedure

A will must be in a proper form and follow all of the law’s requirements for signing and witnessing. If these requirements are not followed then it could be invalid.


If a will can be shown to have been created fraudently, then it could be declared invalid.

Making provisions

Surviving dependants, including spouses, civil partners, children and co-habitees, can challenge a will or the rules of intestacy if there is there is no financial support in the will

The court will consider a surviving dependant’s needs and resources against what would be reasonable for their maintenance. The factors taken into consideration are stated in legislation.

If a husband, wife or civil partner is a surviving dependant, the court will consider additional factors such as:

  • age
  • duration of the marriage or partnership
  • what you may have reasonably expected had the marriage or partnership ended legally
  • your contribution to the welfare of the family

Any claims for financial provision must be made within six months of the grant of representation to the estate.

What happens if a will is declared invalid?

This means the deceased died intestate and the estate will have to be administered according to the rules of intestacy.

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