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Grounds on how you can challenge a Will

24th September 2023 by Rob Kelly

Categories: What's New?

There are a number of ways you may be able to dispute a Will if you are concerned about its contents, the way in which it was prepared, or whether it was executed by the deceased.  These include:

  • The person who made the Will lacked the necessary capacity to make a Will
  • The person who made the Will did not know or did not approve of the contents of the Will
  • The person who made the Will was coerced (influenced) into making a Will in terms that they would not have done without that coercion
  • The deceased may have promised during their lifetime to leave property to you which they have left to someone else by the terms of their Will
  • The will was not properly executed
  • The will is a forgery

You may be able to dispute a Will on more than one of these grounds.

A successful challenge to a Will on one or more of these grounds will invalidate the Will.  The deceased’s estate will then be administered according to an earlier Will or, if there is not an earlier Will, in accordance with the intestacy rules.

You will need to act quickly to prevent a grant of representation being issued in the deceased’s estate.  A grant will enable the estate to be administered and the assets distributed and it is likely to be more difficult, time-consuming and expensive to attempt to trace and recover the assets if a challenge to a Will is successful.

Laceys  have experience advising on challenges to Wills and defending Wills which have been challenged.  We recognise that Will disputes are often sensitive, emotional and stressful, and we act on your behalf with objectivity and empathy.

If you would like to discuss a contentious Will issue you have, please contact Rob on 01202 377871 or email


Rob Kelly

Senior Associate Solicitor — Dispute Resolution

Direct dial: 01202 377871


Rob Kelly
  • “Rob Kelly has been absolutely exceptional in resolving this litigation and so thorough in everything and basically gave the opposition a masterclass of his work that he is so good at.”

    Paul Jeffcoate - Contentious Probate Client

  • “I have had the pleasure of working with several members of the team at Laceys regularly over a period of years. I found Rob Kelly in particular, who worked on a successful litigation case for me over a period of several years to be outstanding in all aspects of the work he undertook, and the manner in which he did it. I now consider him a friend. I would not - and have not - hesitated to recommend Laceys to my family and friends, and continue to use them for all legal matters.”

    Dan Collins

  • “ I just wanted to thank you for your great work on the professional negligence case and other cases you have represented Indian Ocean and Tiien through the last few years.”

    Mehdi Vahdati, Director and Proprietor - Indian Ocean (Bournemouth) Limited

  • “A case that was initially very straightforward became difficult and, for me, very frustrating. Rob Kelly's calm, lucid and very professional advice and planning were invaluable and led to a good outcome.”

    Don Young

  • “Their Fee Management was exemplary and the expertise provided by Rob was exactly what we required.”

    Sunseeker London Limited

  • “I've worked with a fair few lawyers over the years and Rob Kelly is the most on the ball and efficient lawyers I've ever come across. I'm looking forward to working together for many years to come.”

    Roger Woodall CEO - Diamond Sporting Group

Rob practices in two main, complimentary areas of work – contentious wills, probate and trust disputes, and property disputes.

Contentious wills, probate and trusts

More than half of Rob’s time is spent dealing with the contentious aspects of wills, probate and trusts, an area in which he has practiced continuously for over 20 years.  He advises and acts in disputes relating to wills and inheritance, trusts, the duties of trustees and personal representatives, and the administration of estate.

Rob’s practice embraces:

  • Personal representative and trustee disputes (including personal representative and trustee disagreements, removals / substitutions and alleged misconduct)
  • Disappointed beneficiary claims
  • Will disputes (where the validity of a will is challenged on the grounds of undue influence, lack of testamentary capacity, lack of knowledge and approval of the contents of a will, and fraudulent calumny)
  • Financial provision claims under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975
  • Proprietary estoppel claims
  • Disputes about the proper construction, and rectification, of wills
  • Caveats
  • Professional liability claims arising from the preparation of wills and trusts and the administration of estates

He has mediated (either as appointed mediator or as a representative) dozens of disputes involving contentious wills and probate issues.

Property disputes

The other side of Rob’s practice is contentious property work.  This embraces:

  • Residential and commercial landlord and tenant disputes
  • Disrepairs
  • Repairing covenants
  • Possession claims
  • Lease termination and lease forfeiture
  • Dilapidations
  • Service charge disputes
  • Interpretation and enforcement of leasehold covenants

Rob’s style is a mix of listening, asking (tough) questions, diplomacy and reality testing. He’s interested, flexible, and pragmatic. He offers a common sense, realistic approach to assist his clients in searching for solutions to their disputes and brings straight talking and integrity to his work.

Rob is a Solicitor. He successfully completed training as a mediator under the ADR Chambers / Harvard Law Project Scheme in June 2006 and is a member of the Civil Mediation Council.

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