How to contest a will in England: Part 2

We are regularly asked how to contest a will in England. In response to this we have prepared a two part legal guide to contesting a will in England.

In Part 2 of this guide we look at the legal issues that need to be considered and the evidence that may be required.

You can read Part 1 of our guide to contesting a will in England here.

Grounds for challinging the validity of a Will

In Part 1 of this guide we looked at the legal grounds upon which the validity of a will can be challenged. They included:

  • Lack testamentary capacity;
  • Lack of valid execution;
  • Lack of knowledge and approval;
  • Undue influence; and
  • Fraudulent wills and forged wills.

Proving that a will is invalid

It is not sufficient to simply suspect that a will is invalid, you need to be able to prove it. The onus is on the person challenging the will to present evidence in support of their case.

Here are some examples of the evidence that is frequently relied upon to prove that a will is invalid:

  1. the file of the solicitor who prepared the will;
  2. any previous wills and the related will preparation files;
  3. a statement from the solicitor who prepared a will;
  4. a statement from the people who witnessed a will;
  5. the deceased’s hospital and GP records;
  6. the deceased’s care home records; and
  7. the deceased’s diaries and correspondence.

It is generally the case that only when all available evidence has been obtained that it becomes possible to definitively assess the strength of the legal case.

Obtaining the evidence

There is no reason why this evidence cannot be obtained without a solicitor’s help.  However in our experience, using a solicitor often means that the evidence is obtained more quickly. The quality of the witness evidence is also likely to be better as well.

We are happy to assist in obtaining this evidence and then give advice on the merits of the legal case.

If you have already obtained this evidence yourself, we are happy to assess that evidence and if it is a strong case deal with it on a no win no fee basis.

Expert evidence

Additional evidence in the form of an expert’s report is often required to support a challenge to the validity of a will. The most common form of expert evidence is a report from a medical practitioner in relation to the deceased’s mental capacity or state of mind. In fraud cases handwriting experts are often called upon.

Free legal helpline

If you would like further guidance on how to contest a will in England then please call our free legal helpline on 0333 888 0409 or send an email to us with brief detail of your case [email protected]

How to contest a will in England: Part 2