Can I contest a will containing a no-contest clause?

We recently challenged a will containing a no-contest clause, recovering £185,000 for our client, instead of the £5,000 she had been left in the will. To find out where you stand contact us for a free review of your case and details of No Win, No Fee funding. Call our legal helpline on 0333 888 0409 or send an email to us at [email protected]

No-contest clauses are sometimes included in a will when the maker of the will wants to prevent their will from being challenged. The beneficiary is usually left a modest legacy which they will forfeit if they choose to contest the will. These clauses are therefore intended to put people off challenging the will by worrying them that they will lose out if they do so.

But beneficiaries should not be bullied. It is always worth taking expert advice on whether the no-contest clause is enforceable, and if it is, to weigh up the pros and cons of contesting the will. You should particularly bear in mind that:

  • The existence of a no-contest clause in the will does not prevent you from contesting the will.
  • The clause will be invalid if the will fails to specify who will benefit if the legacy is forfeited.
  • The benefit of contesting a will containing such a clause may considerably outweigh the risk of the legacy being forfeited.
  • Even if a claim made under the Inheritance Act is not successful, the court has the power to override the clause.

We recently contested a will that contained a no-contest clause. Our client’s father had made a will leaving our client just £5,000. To put her off contesting the will he included a clause declaring that the gift of £5,000 would be forfeit if she disputed the validity of the will or made a claim against his estate under the Inheritance Act.

We discussed the options with our client and went ahead with a legal challenge. The claim succeeded and instead of receiving just £5,000, under the will, our client received £185,000.

So, if you are a beneficiary under a will containing a no-contest clause and you are unhappy with the terms of the will, then don’t be put off. We offer a free case assessment service. Our Legal 500 recommended will dispute lawyers will be happy to review of your case and offer guidance on whether the no-contest clause is likely to be effective. However, please remember the 6 month time limit for Inheritance Act claims and don’t delay in contacting us.

Call us on 0333 888 0409 or send brief details to us by email at [email protected]

Can I contest a will containing a no-contest clause?