Professional legal advice to resolve disputes over a contested estate
Losing someone close to you can be a painful time for both you and your family. If you have been left out of a will and you do not know how the assets are going to be managed, or if someone is challenging a will that you are included in, our Probate lawyers can help you to ensure that everything is dealt with fairly. This means that you can focus on your family and what is most important to you.
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What is Contested Probate?
A will ensures that a person’s estate is distributed and managed properly. In some cases you may have been missed out of a will, or a will may not exist at all. If you believe you are being treated unfairly, you may be entitled to make a claim. Likewise, if somebody else is making a claim against a will but you believe it to be legitimate, we may be able to help. Contested Probate is the area of law that deals with disputes of administration over someone’s estate.
Disputes may arise at any stage of the process. We understand that this can happen at what can be a particularly difficult and sensitive time. As specialist Contested Probate Solicitors, we are able to use our extensive experience to provide you with expert legal support throughout your case. We can represent:
- Executors – the person(s) appointed to deal with the administration of an estate
- Trustees – the person(s) appointed to manage and invest assets for the benefit of the beneficiaries
- Beneficiaries – the person(s) named in a will or trust who would benefit from the assets, property and possessions of the person who wrote the will or set up the trust
- Individuals who believe they have a claim to someone’s estate who do not fall into one of the above categories
We can assist with all aspects of contested probate and inheritance disputes, including:
- contesting a will
- responding to a will dispute
- disputes relating to trusts
- disputes relating to the administration of an estate
- making a claim for financial provision under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependents) Act 1975
Disputes Over Wills
Disputes may arise over a will if the genuineness is questioned. A will may be invalid if:
- The person who wrote the will was influenced by someone else.
- The person who wrote the will did not have sufficient mental capacity to do so. For example, we are often involved in cases where wills have been changed close to death and there are concerns that the testator had dementia.
- There is a technical defect with the will, for example, it had not been signed or witnessed properly.
- The writer did not understand the nature of the will and the property which they were disposing of.
- The will is fraudulent. Typically fraud wills arise in the following circumstances:
- When the original will may have been deliberately destroyed
- The signature on the will is not that of the testator
- The deceased was tricked into signing the document not knowing it was a will
If you need to prevent a Grant of Probate or a Grant of Representation, then you should lodge a caveat. By paying a small fee, a caveat stalls a grant by up to six months. This allows you time to ensure that you have all the relevant information you need and to resolve any issues that you have found.
Inheritance Act 1975
This Act allows people to make claims of reasonable financial provision. If a will is considered to not include sufficient provision for someone, the Act allows a Court to adjust the distribution of an estate. People that can make one of these claims include:
- A spouse or civil partner of the deceased
- A former spouse or civil partner who has not remarried or formed another civil partnership
- A person who was cohabiting with the deceased as his spouse or civil partner 2 years prior to death
- A child of the deceased
- Any person other than those mentioned above who was being maintained by the deceased prior to death
How can Switalskis help me?
We can offer unique, tailored advice to aid you in your case. We always aim to resolve cases as efficiently and as quickly as possible, to keep it as stress-free and the best value as possible. We also try to keep the court uninvolved where possible. We believe in providing a personal service so that you are updated throughout the whole process and fully understand what is happening.
For advice on your Contested Probate case call Solicitor Bernadette Duffy on 01924 882000 or send our Wills team a message through our website.