Contentious Probate SolicitorsWhen probate becomes contentious, our specialist solicitors can assist you.
What is Contentious Probate?
Contentious Probate arises where there are challenges or disputes in respect of the validity of a Will, interpretation of a Will and inheritance provided to beneficiaries. Disputes may arise when a person does not believe that the Will accurately reflects the intentions of the person who made the Will (“Testator”). Disputes may also arise where a person has not inherited what they believed they would inherit, should inherit, or has not inherited at all from the death of the testator.
A probate claim binds all those with sufficient interest.
Types of Claims/Disputes:
1. Challenging the Validity of a Will
2. Claim for inheritance under the Inheritance Act 1975
3. Executors mismanagement of the estate
4. Disagreements between beneficiaries
Who can bring a claim?
A person will only be eligible to bring a claim if they have a sufficient interest in the probate claim(“Standing”). People who are eligible include spouses, civil partners, children or a person who lived with the deceased at least two years before the deceased’s death.
Grounds to challenge a Will
It is vital that the person making the Will is of sound mind. That person should have understood the nature and effect of the Will, what they are doing, and the consequences of including and excluding people in their Will. The intentions of the testator must be clear to avoid any claims challenging the validity of the Will. The grounds to challenge a Will are as follows:
1. Lack of Testamentary Capacity of Intent
– Did the person have the mental capacity to make and sign the Will or decisions regarding it? Did the person understand what they were doing?
2. Lack of Due Execution
– Did the testator sign the Will and have their signature signed and witnessed by two independent witnesses?
3. Lack of Knowledge and Approval
-Did the testator understand the consequences of what they were doing, who they were including and who they were excluding?
5. Undue Influence
7. Rectification and Construction of Provisions
– Does the Will contain ambiguous/unclear wording? Are the intentions of the testator unclear due to the wording and construction of the Will?
If you believe that a Will can be challenged on any of the above grounds, then you should contact your solicitor for advice regarding a potential claim and your evidence in support.
If you believe that a Will has been unfairly challenged, then you should contact your solicitor for advice regarding a defence and your evidence in support.
Claims for Inheritance
Do you believe that the Will does not make sufficient financial provision for you? Were you unfairly or surprisingly excluded from the Will?
Did you reasonably expect to receive financial provision? Did you not receive what you expected?
If you have any concerns regarding your inheritance, then your solicitor can advise you.
A claim for inheritance must be made within 6 months of the Grant of Probate/Letters of Administration.
Once a probate claim is issued, it will prevent any applications for a Grant being made until the claim has been disposed of. We can advise you and assist you throughout the litigation process. We aim to resolve and settle disputes wherever possible.
Britton and Time Solicitors
We are here to assist you in any potential claims or defences to claims for inheritance or challenges to a Will. We sympathise that dealing with probate and family disputes can be very stressful and upsetting. Claims against the estate may delay the process of administering the estate, be expensive in litigation, and could reduce the amount of inheritance payable to beneficiaries. However, we understand the importance that the estate is distributed to beneficiaries in accordance with what the testator would have intended. We will provide you with the legal assistance and support you need to resolve your disputes as smoothly, amicably and as quickly as possible.