Defending a contested Will

We have recently scored another success in defending a contested Will.

If you are the executor of an estate and find yourself facing a challenge to the validity of the Will, our recommendation is to consult a specialist inheritance lawyer for advice without delay. We are experienced in defending contested Wills and we operate a free legal helpline which you can call or email for guidance.

In this case Sarah Coombs, a solicitor in our contentious probate team, successfully defended a validity challenge made against the Will of her client’s late husband. As a result of Sarah’s efforts the claim was withdrawn before court proceedings were issued and substantial legal costs were avoided.

Her client’s husband had died leaving a Will appointing our client and his sister as executors of the estate. Our client was the sole beneficiary of the Will.  The estate itself was largely formed of the property in which our client had resided with her husband. No provision was made in the Will for the sister.

Having obtained Grant of Probate, the sister surprised our client by challenging the validity of the Will on the grounds that:

  • the deceased lacked testamentary capacity;
  • the deceased was coerced into making the Will;
  • the deceased lacked knowledge and approval of the contents of the Will; and
  • the Will failed to comply with the formal requirements of the Wills Act 1837.

The sister argued that the Will should be declared invalid and an earlier Will should be be admitted to probate instead; one in which she herself was set to benefit financially from the estate.

Sarah challenged the Claimant to prove her allegations and provide evidence in respect of each of the legal grounds. she was relying on. Although the Claimant continued to aggressively pursue her claim she was unable to provide any evidence to support it.

Sarah obtained the medical records of the deceased to establish that these did not suggest he lacked mental capacity. She also spoke to the individuals who had witnessed the Will in order to prove that the formal requirements of executing the Will had been complied with.

Sarah highlighted the weaknesses and shortcomings of the sister’s case and was ultimately successful in persuading her to withdraw her claim before formal court proceedings were commenced.

This was an excellent outcome for our client. Not only did it bring closure to her at a very difficult time but it also avoided the estate being required to defend lengthy and costly court proceedings.

Sarah acted under a no win, no fee funding agreement, which meant our client incurred no upfront cost in securing this outcome.

For expert guidance on defending a contested Will, contact our free legal helpline by calling 0333 888 0409 or sending details to us by email at [email protected]

Defending a contested Will