02 March 2020

Your Will could be challenged after your death by a disappointed family member, possibly under the Inheritance (Provision for Family & Dependants) Act 1975, or because your Will was incorrectly signed, or if you were ‘unduly influenced’ or did not have the requisite ‘testamentary capacity’.

By having your Will drawn up by a professional significantly reduces the risk of a successful challenge being made against your Will after your death.

In addition to instructing a solicitor to prepare your Will, I would advise that you also prepare a letter setting out your reasons for making your Will as it is. This could explain why you had chosen to not treat your children equally for example. Such a letter is evidence of your testamentary capacity. It can also calm a situation down if a disappointed family member can see your reasons for acting as you did.

Depending on your age and whether you are suffering from particular medical conditions, a solicitor may also advise you to obtain a medical report on your testamentary capacity. It is easier for this to be done at the time, than for your Executors to request this after your death, which could be many years later.

No professional can guarantee that no one will challenge your Will, but the above ‘belt and braces’ approach will give you the most water tight Will possible.

If you are an Executor or beneficiary of an estate where there is a challenge, then my colleagues in the Dispute Resolution department can advise you. We are able to offer telephone and videoconference meetings to take instructions regarding any legal matter.

For more information on Wills and Trusts please contact Christine Butterfield in the Private Client Team on 01305 216205 or For more information on Inheritance and Probate Disputes please contact Peter Livingstone in the Dispute Resolution department on 01935 846235 or