Aug 2023

Can a will be contested or challenged?


Losing a loved one is often painful enough and you certainly don't need the additional torture of having to bear additional administrative burdens.

If you have reason to challenge a will, then yes, you can challenge or contest a will. It just depends on the circumstances.

Here's a brief summary of the different ways you can challenge a will:

  • There are issues with the will itself (contesting a will)
  • There's a dispute over how the estate is being administered (contentious probate)
  • You wish to remove a trustee (trust dispute)
  • You've been left out our a will or haven't been left as much as you expected (particularly relevant in the case of an inheritance tax claim)
  • You feel that a will writer or solicitor has drawn up the will incorrectly or has been negligent in their advice (professional negligence)
  • You've been promised assets that don't appear in the will (pre-death agreements)
  • You suspect somebody has taken control of a vulnerable individual's finances in an unethical manner (financial abuse)
  • Somebody is challenging you as executor or beneficiary and you wish to defend that challenge (contested will defence)
  • You have serious misgivings about the mental capacity to of an individual to either manage their own affairs (statutory wills and financial deputyship)
  • You have evidence that the deceased person was under the influence of alcohol and/or another intoxicating substance and/or medication at the time of writing their will

If you have issues with the will itself, please continue to read.

Otherwise, we suggest you browse our FAQ for more specific advice relating to your unique circumstance/concern.

You can also reach out to us. Simply scroll to the bottom of this page for our contact details.

If you think the will is invalid in any way, you might be able to make a claim under the Inheritance Act if:

You have been left out of the will

You have discovered that you have not been covered in the will and have reason to believe/prove that you should be.

The will is not valid in some way

  • Was the will not properly signed or witnessed?
  • Do you have reason to believe that the deceased individual didn't have the mental capacity to make out the will properly?
  • Was the deceased individual influenced by a third party in an improper or unethical manner?
  • Do you have reason to believe the will was forged?

You haven't been left with as much as you originally expected

  • Were you financially dependent on the deceased individual (and weren't properly provided for in the will)?
  • Were you promised something by the deceased individual before they died, but that "something" was not included in the will?

If you wish to contest a will, then it's best you reach out to us at the earliest possible. Not only is each case is different, but the timescales for certain claims can be relatively short. So it's important that you respond swiftly in order not to lose your right to claim.

Here's what you will need to take into account:


  • Each claim is different and it all depends on the type of claim.
  • In many cases, you'll need to trigger the start of your claim within six months of probate being granted.
  • If the six-month window has elapsed, you may need to seek permission from the court in order to be able to make your claim.
  • In cases where you're disputing the validity of a will, then no time limit for making a claim exists.

You can often resolve claims or disputes against an estate out of court by using mediation.