Q&As

Can an executor dispute the terms of a Will?

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Produced in partnership with Oliver Auld of Charles Russell Speechlys LLP
Published on LexisPSL on 08/08/2019

The following Wills & Probate Q&A produced in partnership with Oliver Auld of Charles Russell Speechlys LLP provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Can an executor dispute the terms of a Will?

Can an executor dispute the terms of a Will?

The terms of a Will may be disputed on the grounds that either the Will is invalid or specific provisions of the Will have failed, are invalid or should be construed in a particular way. Any person with an interest in the estate, whether they are an executor under the Will or a potential beneficiary, is entitled to issue such a claim.

An executor is not obliged to act under a Will they believe to be invalid. Therefore, they are unlikely to have a reason to seek a decree pronouncing against the validity of the Will. However, it may be appropriate for them to do so, for example, if they are also the executor under a previous Will, which they believe to be the last valid Will. An executor who has failed in an action in relation to the validity of the Will risks being made personally liable for the costs of the proceedings, unless they are held to have acted reasonably (Boughton and Marston v Knight at para [79]). The executor should therefore be cautious against issuing adversarial proceedings, particularly where they

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