Can you dispute a will or the inheritance you receive?

What is an attorneys role?

Unhappy about the amount of inheritance you are due to receive? Will you not receiving anything from the will? There are options available to you.

The validity of the will

Firstly, you could dispute the validity of the will. However, this is only worthwhile if you benefit under a previous will. If there is no previous will, then the rules of intestacy need to be considered.

There are various ways to challenge the validity of a will:

  • The correct formalities were not followed

  • Lack of mental capacity

  • The deceased did not know and approve the contents of the will

  • Undue influence by someone

  • The document is a forgery

 Claims under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975

  • Another option is to consider a claim under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975. The people who can make a claim are:

  • Spouse or civil partner of the deceased

  • A former spouse or civil partner of the deceased, who has not subsequently entered a marriage or civil partnership

  • Someone who cohabited with the deceased for at least 2 years prior to the deceased’s death

  • Child of the deceased

  • Someone who was treated as a child by the deceased

  • Someone who was maintained by the deceased immediately before the deceased’s death

The court then considers whether the person making the claim has received reasonable financial provision from the deceased’s estate.  If not, the court will consider various factors to determine if the person should receive something from the deceased’s estate.  These factors include:

  • The financial needs and resources of anyone making the claim, and the existing beneficiaries

  • Size and nature of the estate

  • The Deceased’s obligations and responsibilities towards anyone making a claim, and the existing beneficiaries

  • Any mental or physical disabilities that anyone who is making a claim, or the existing beneficiaries, may have 

  • Any other matter, including conduct


There are also other factors the court takes into account depending on the person making the claim. If the court decides the person making the claim should receive something, there are a variety of things the court can do, these include:

  • transferring property

  • a lump sum 

  • periodical payments


Other Claims

There can also be other types of claims against an estate. These include proprietary estoppel which can occur when the deceased promised a property to someone. If that person relied on that promise to their detriment but they don’t inherit the property, a claim can be made.

If you are unhappy with the inheritance you receive, please contact us to discuss how we can help you. We can also assist if you are an executor or beneficiary of an estate which someone else is contesting. 

We understand that every case is different and matters can sometimes be very complicated. 

Our contentious probate team has experience dealing with a wide variety of claims. We will be able to assist with your individual circumstances.

The contents of this article are intended for general information purposes only and shall not be deemed to be, or constitute legal advice. We cannot accept responsibility for any loss as a result of acts or omissions taken in respect of this article.