The person making a Will (the ‘testator’) must understand and approve the contents of their Will in order for it to be considered legal. This is distinct from the physical act of signing the Will.
If it can be shown that the testator did not properly know or approve of the contents of their Will, then the Will can be declared invalid by a court. The estate can then be dealt with under the terms of an earlier valid Will (if one exists) or under the rules of intestacy.
A challenge to the validity of a Will on the basis that the person making the Will lacked the required knowledge and approval is often pursued as an alternative to a challenge of undue influence as this can be far more difficult to establish and prove.
Issues of knowledge and approval can arise if the person making the Will suffers from a condition such as blindness, deafness or illiteracy. Similarly, where a Will has been completed in suspicious circumstances the court must be satisfied that the person making the Will understood and approved the contents of their Will.
Knowing whether there are grounds to challenge a Will and which grounds are most appropriate to the circumstances is very complicated, so it is essential to seek specialist legal advice at the earliest opportunity.
Consult our contentious probate solicitors about a disputing a Will made without proper knowledge or approval
To discuss making or defending a Will claim on the grounds of lack of proper knowledge and/or approval, please contact us today.
Common questions about contesting a Will on the grounds of lack of proper knowledge or approval
When can you challenge a Will on the grounds of lack of knowledge or approval?
Factors which may be more likely to excite the suspicion of the court include:
- a vulnerable person
- radical changes to previous Wills without explanation
- errors and/or spelling mistakes
- a beneficiary taking an active role in the Will instructions and/or the signing of the Will
- unusual behaviour of the person making the Will
- using witnesses who are not independent.
This type of challenge to the validity of a Will tend to be stronger in circumstances of a homemade Will, where legal advice was not sought.
What other grounds are there for contesting a Will?
As Will dispute specialist lawyers (based in St Albans, Hertfordshire) we also can assist with claims where:
- a Will has not been signed, witnessed or drafted correctly
- a Will was created by someone not of sound mind
- a Will was made under pressure
If you believe you have grounds to contest a Will or need to defending a Will claim, please contact us today to discuss your situation.
Our expertise with contested Wills
With many years of experience, our Contentious Probate team can quickly assess your situation and provide clear guidance on your legal position and your options for dealing with a Will dispute on the grounds of lack of proper knowledge or approval. We can then help you achieve the right outcome as quickly and cost-effectively as possible, while keeping conflict to a minimum.
Independent recognition for our team’s expertise includes:
- Ranked Tier 1 for Tax, Trusts and Probate by the Legal 500
- Ranked Band 1 for Private Wealth Law by Chambers & Partners
- Susan Glenholme and Nicholas Turner recognised as Leading Individuals in the field of Tax, Trusts and Probate by the Legal 500
- Susan Glenholme ranked Band 1 for Private Wealth Law by Chambers & Partners
- Michael Henry recognised as an Associate to Watch in the field of Private Wealth Disputes by Chambers & Partners
- Wills and Inheritance Quality Scheme accreditation From the Law Society
Our team’s exceptional skills and commitment to our clients is reflected in their memberships of various specialist organisations, including:
- ACTAPS (Association of Contentious Trust and Probate Specialists)
- The Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners (STEP)
- The Private Client Section of the Law Society
- Dementia Friends
- Solicitors for the Elderly
This independent recognition and these memberships illustrate the strength of our services in this challenging area and reflect our ability to find the best outcome for our clients and their loved ones in the best way for them, avoiding contentious court proceedings wherever possible.
Get in touch with our Will disputes solicitors in St Albans and Radlett
Whether you need help contesting a Will on the grounds of lack of properly knowledge or approval, or with defending a Will claim on these grounds, our team are here to advise you.
So, if you need help with a Will dispute from a trusted local solicitor, please contact us today.