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Contentious Probate Series Part 2 - Lack of Knowledge and Approval

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19th September 2023

If a Will is challenged on the grounds of lack of knowledge and approval, it means the testator may not have fully understood or appreciated what they were signing. This can result in the Will being declared invalid by a court.

There are a number of factors which can be considered when determining whether a Will was made with the necessary level of knowledge and approval. These include the testator's age, mental state, and overall understanding of their assets and how they would be distributed under the Will. Additionally, the circumstances under which the Will was signed - and the instructions given - can also be taken into account. For example, if the testator was under the care of a doctor or other medical professional at the time they gave instructions for or signed the Will, this may be seen as a potential red flag.

If a Will is found to be invalid due to lack of knowledge and approval, the assets will be distributed according to the terms of an earlier Will or if no such Will exists, according to the laws of intestacy. This means that the assets will be distributed among the testator's nearest relatives according to a set formula, rather than according to the terms in the Will. It's important to note that in order to challenge a Will on the grounds of lack of knowledge and approval, the person challenging it will have to have evidence of that allegation. When a Will is signed and executed correctly, the presumption of knowledge and approval arises.

If you have any questions concerning a contentious probate claim, please contact Noel McNicholas on 01926 887700 or