Disputed Wills

Dealing with the death of a relative is very difficult and emotional. Dealing with their estate can become even more difficult. In some circumstances, you may feel that your relative’s will does not provide for you, or does not reflect what you believed were their intentions. You may suspect that they were not of sound mind, or were being influenced when they made their will. There are also occasions where people have not made a valid will at all.

These situations often lead to disputes which can be very complicated and distressing for those involved.

We are one of a small number of firms in the area with specialist solicitors who are experienced in handling the complexities of disputes. We can help you bring or defend a claim over a will or an inheritance.

Contact us if you would like a free initial appointment to discuss any of these issues.

Disputed Wills in Bournemouth, Poole, Christchurch, Ringwood and the New Forest

We have offices in Christchurch. Our Dispute Resolution Team also covers Bournemouth, Poole, Ringwood and the New Forest, with the majority of our clients located in the Bournemouth and Poole area.

If you live in Bournemouth or Poole:

Please do not be put off by our location and please do not hesitate to contact us. Our disputed wills solicitors will be very happy to speak with you.

With the calm manner and firm responses given, we were able to cope.  Frettens were always available and gave sound counselling to each query.

Ask us at Frettens

Here's some frequently asked questions on disputed wills, if you need to ask us anything more please get in touch using the form on the right.

Q. Can I contest a relative’s Will?

A. Yes, there are a number of different reasons why you may have the grounds to contest a loved one’s Will. This can include concerns about their mental capacity at the date they made the Will, issues of them having been unduly influenced by someone close to them, not properly understanding the contents of their Will or simply that it fails to make reasonable financial provision for you depending on your relationship to the Deceased and your needs.

Q. Grounds for contesting a will due to validity

A. The grounds the court will consider when looking at whether a will is valid include:

  • Mistake or error in the drafting of the will.
  • If there is evidence that any pressure was placed on the person making the will as to its contents. Do you have suspicions regarding the contents or making of the will?
  • Doubts as to the will makers mental capacity or their understanding of the contents of their will or their assets at the time they made their will.
  • Proprietary estoppel.  Have you been promised an inheritance, acted to your detriment as a result of that promise and then found out that you have been left nothing from the estate?
  • The will has not been signed properly or there were not the required number of witnesses present.

Q. Is it hard to contest a will?

A. The answer to this question will depend on the facts of each individual matter. We offer a free, no obligation initial consultation and can advise you whether we consider that there are sufficient grounds to make a claim.  You can then consider your options.

Q. How to contest a will

A. If we consider that there are sufficient grounds to dispute the validity of a will then we would initially look to settle the claim through correspondence and mediation. 

If this is not possible, as a last resort, it would be necessary to commence court proceedings.  We can consider various payment options when dealing with disputed will cases including deferring payment until the outcome of the case where the merits allow.

Disputing a will is never easy as we understand that you are grieving a loved one and embarking on litigation.  Our team are sympathetic to the circumstances surrounding these types of dispute and can guide you through these stressful times.

Q. Who pays for contesting a will?

A. The courts have a wide discretion when looking at costs for contested wills.  The standard costs awards are:

  • Costs can be ordered to be paid from the estate
  • The losing party could be ordered to pay the winners costs
  • In some instances, both parties will bear their own costs

Q. Can you contest a will after probate?

A. Yes, you can contest a will after probate has been granted, however there is a strict time limit on claims.

Q. How much time do you have to contest a will?

A. If you are claiming financial provision then there is a strict 6-month deadline from the date of the grant of probate. If you think you have been left out of a will, but have a financial need that should be considered then the sooner you act the better. 

For some other claims such as validity issues, you have a longer period but it is always best to act quickly.  We can advise you on time limits in relation to your particular dispute over the will.