Can I contest a will on the grounds of lack of knowledge and approval?

We can help you to contest a will on the grounds of lack of knowledge and approval. Call our free legal helpline on 0808 139 159 or send us an email.

For a will to be valid the maker of the will must have understood and approved its contents. Lawyers call this requirement ‘knowledge and approval’.

The presumption of knowledge and approval

Where a will is properly executed there is a legal presumption that the maker of the will had knowledge of the contents of the will and approved those contents. There are some  exceptions to this general presumption which our lawyers can advise on if a claim is made.

Suspicion of lack of knowledge and approval

If there is a suspicion that the maker of the will lacked ‘knowledge and approval’ then the validity of the will can be challenged on that basis. If it can be proved that the testator did not have ‘knowledge and approval then the will can be declared invalid. This means that their estate will then be dealt with in accordance with the terms of their previous will. If there is no previous will, then the intestacy rules will apply.

Proving lack of knowledge and approval.

It is generally more difficult to contest a will on the grounds of ‘lack of knowledge and approval’ where a solicitor was involved in preparing the will. When a will is signed the solicitor will usually read through the will with the testator to ensure they understand it and are happy with the contents. However this isn’t always the case.

If only part of the will is read to the testator, it is possible for a ‘lack of knowledge and approval’ to apply to the parts which were not read and understood.

The courts have said that any legal challenge must have a realistic rather than fanciful prospect of success. There must be a real doubt about the testator’s understanding of the terms of the will they have signed. If that doubt is present the burden of proving the testator had ‘knowledge and approval’ falls to those seeking to confirm the validity of the Will.

How we can help

We deal with contested wills nationwide and can often work on a no win, no fee basis. For further guidance on whether you can contest a will on the grounds of lack of knowledge and approval call our free legal helpline on 0808 139 1596 for a case assessment or email us at info@contesting-wills.co.uk