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Contesting a Will

If I have a case about proving a will was drafted under undue influence


You cannot challenge a will under Scottish or English law simply because you are unhappy with its contents. You can however challenge its validity, which may mean that you inherit under a previous will or the rules of intestacy.

In England, the validity of a will can be challenged on the grounds of undue influence, lack of testamentary capacity, want of knowledge and approval and lack of due execution.

In order for a will to be valid in Scotland, the testator has to be over 12 and must sign every page of the will in the presence of one witness (who can also be a beneficiary).

In England and Wales, the testator has to be over 18 (or 16 and in active military service) and must sign the will in the presence of two witnesses.

It is also important that the testator was of sound mind and was fully aware of the meaning of the document at the time the will was made (i.e. had what’s called testamentary capacity) and that they were not being heavily or unduly influenced and coerced by another person when making their will.

You may have a case for contesting or challenging a will if you can prove a lack of testamentary capacity or demonstrate undue influence. These concerns frequently arise in death bed wills (i.e. wills made literally days or hours before death). Any will 'thrown together' at the last minute in desperate or urgent circumstances can give rise to the possibility that its contents might not be a careful and considered expression of the testator's wishes and can therefore be contested.

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