Case Studies & Examples for Will Contests/Challenges

Case Studies from the UK

Coming soon, you can read from a selection of real case studies from the UK, giving you real-life perspectives on challenging or contesting a will.

A Story to Illustrate what a will contest/challenge is about

A useful way to illustrate what is involved in a will contest/challenge is by example. The following hypothetical case study sets out what can occur with a typical will contest/challenge.


The example involves two brothers; 42 year-old John who is making the claim and William, his older brother, who is entitled to everything under their late mother’s will. John and William’s father died years earlier and left everything to their mother.

When the mother died, in her will she left William all her assets; primarily a house valued at £450,000 and about £90,000 in the bank. John believed William may have influenced his mother to change her will in his favour about six months before she died. William was appointed as her executor and he took out a Grant of Probate.

John described an ‘on and off‘ relationship with his mother which he didn’t consider to be his fault.

He described his mother as erratic with her affections, suddenly cutting off contact with him and then resuming contact when it suited her. These circumstances were not his choice.

John spent two years overseas in the army. He believed his mother felt that he had abandoned her during this period even though he phoned and wrote to her as much as possible. In the year before she died, his mother cut off all contact with John — an action that John believes was encouraged by William.

The issue

John now works part time job and wants to re-qualify as a graphic designer. He rents a small cottage and supports a child from a previous marriage. Now divorced, he has virtually no money and wants to become financially stable in order to take better control of his life.

William works full time in government and owns his own home. He is married with one child.

John’s needs

John wants recognition and knows he must stand up to his brother, who has always disregarded him, in order to achieve a level of self respect. John believes that starting a will contest/challenge will make William listen to him.

John is realistic that a will contest/challenge won’t necessarily restore his position in the family or restore his relationship with William, but he knows an Award of money could help get his life on track.

The claim

As legally required in England and Wales, John started his will contest/challenge in the court within six months of the Grant of Probate. The claim is formally known as a Contested Probate.

John and William set out their stories in separate witness statements, which were exchanged and filed in court. A mediation was conducted out of court, attended by John, William, their respective lawyers and a trained mediator.

The result for John

Through the mediation, John secures enough funds to make a substantial deposit on a small flat and pay for a year of retraining.

John now plans to get a better job and pay off his mortgage using his wages. John is especially delighted to have his own home, at last.

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