Contested Probate Solicitors

Contested Probate Solicitors

For peace of mind

If you're dealing with a contested will, the legal steps you have to follow can feel complex and long-winded. Our contested probate solicitors can guide you through each phase of the probate process, making it as hassle-free as possible so you can focus on what matters most to you.

At Switalskis, we aim to make the legal aspects of challenging a will straightforward. Our team is well versed in contested probate and is here to assist you at every turn.

We're experienced professionals who understand that contesting a will is a significant life event. We cut through the legal jargon, keep you updated and strive to make sure everything goes smoothly.

There are various types of wills and probate matters we deal with:

Want to learn more about contested probate? Feel free to give us a call on 0800 1380 458 or get in touch through the website.

How Switalskis can help

When you get in touch with us, we first work out what you're aiming to sort out in the contested probate case. Are you challenging a will or concerned about how an estate is being managed? We'll lay out the steps you'll need to take so you know what lies ahead.

We stick with you throughout the whole process, breaking down the legal stuff and handling the paperwork. We handle the tricky legal parts so you can focus on what's most important to you. We understand that every contested probate situation is unique, so our advice is customised to fit your specific needs.

With Switalskis, you're not just getting legal guidance; you're partnering with a team that genuinely has your best interests at heart. We'll keep you informed every step of the way, so you're never left guessing and can make choices with confidence.

Read what our clients had to say about the help they received from Switalskis

What is contested probate?

Contested probate is when someone challenges the validity of a will or the way an estate is being managed after someone has passed away. Usually, this happens because someone feels they've been unfairly left out of the will or questions whether the will reflects the true intentions of the deceased. It can also happen when there are concerns that the person managing the estate, known as the executor, is not doing a good job.

The reasons for challenging a will can vary. It might be questioned on grounds that the person who made the will wasn't in a sound mental state or was unduly influenced by someone else. Other reasons could include concerns about fraud or the authenticity of the will itself. In some cases, family members or dependents who believe they should have received more from the estate may also contest.

Contesting a will or probate process isn’t something to be taken lightly. It can be a lengthy, complicated, and emotionally draining process. Legal proceedings can go on for months, if not years, and can be expensive for all parties involved. That's why it's important to have a clear understanding of the situation and sound legal advice before proceeding.

If you find yourself in a situation where contesting a will seems like the right course of action, it's essential to consult experienced legal professionals who specialise in contested probate. They can guide you through the legal process, help gather evidence and represent your interests in court. Their expertise can be invaluable in clarifying whether you have a strong case and how best to proceed.

What is the process of contesting a probate?

Contesting a probate means challenging its validity or the way it divides up someone's property after they've passed away. If you're thinking about doing this, it's essential to know the steps involved, so you're prepared. Here's how the process generally works:

Step 1: Check if you can contest

Not everyone can contest a will. Generally, you have to be a family member, a beneficiary mentioned in the will, or someone who was financially dependent on the person who died.

Step 2: Get legal advice

This is a complex area, so it's a good idea to talk to a solicitor experienced in contested probate. They can give you advice tailored to your situation and tell you if you have a good chance of succeeding.

Step 3: Collect evidence

To contest a will, you'll need solid evidence. This could be proof that the will was made under duress, that the person wasn't in their right mind when they made it, or that the will is somehow fraudulent.

Step 4: File the papers

You'll need to submit your challenge to the probate court. This usually involves filling out specific forms and paying a fee. Your solicitor can help you get this bit right.

Step 5: Notify interested parties

Next, you have to let anyone affected by your challenge know what you're doing. This usually means the executors of the will and other beneficiaries.

Step 6: Court proceedings

If you can't settle the dispute amicably, you'll need to go to court. Here, both sides will present their case, and the judge will make a final decision.

Step 7: The outcome

If you win, the will is declared invalid, and the estate will be distributed according to the law or an earlier will. If you lose, the original will stands, and you might have to pay legal costs.

Who can contest a probate?

Not just anyone can contest a will. Usually, you need to have a specific reason and a close relationship with the person who has died. Most often, people who can contest a will are family members, like spouses, children or grandchildren. Sometimes, people who were financially dependent on the person who's passed away can also have a say. 

If you're named in the will as a beneficiary, you can contest if you think something is wrong. Basically, you need to be someone who stands to lose or gain something significant depending on what the will says.

What are valid grounds for contesting a probate?

If you're thinking about contesting a probate, you can't do it just because you're unhappy with what you got. There needs to be valid reasons, and here are some of the common ones:

  • You could argue that the will wasn't made properly. This could mean it wasn't signed correctly, or the person who made it didn't really understand what they were doing. Mistakes in how the will was made can sometimes get it thrown out or changed.
  • You might claim that the person who wrote the will was pressured or tricked into including certain things. This is known as undue influence. Say, for example, one sibling pressured your parents into leaving them the family home, even though that wasn't your parent's real wish. If you can prove this, you might have a case for contesting the probate.
  • You might think the person who made the will wasn't in a good mental state at the time. This is called lack of testamentary capacity. Maybe they were seriously ill, or their mental health was in decline. If they didn't fully understand the decisions they were making, the will might be seen as invalid.
  • You were financially dependent on the person who died and you've been left out of the will or not given enough to get by on, you might be able to claim reasonable financial provision. This means the court might agree to give you a part of the estate to help you out. But remember, this isn't guaranteed and usually needs to be sorted out in court. 

It's always best to talk to a legal expert to see if you've got a solid reason for contesting a probate.

How long do I have to contest a probate?

If you're thinking of contesting a will, you should know that time is of the essence. You usually have a limited period to make your case. In the UK, for example, you typically have six months from the date of the grant of probate to contest a will. This is the official document that gives the go-ahead for the estate to be distributed according to the terms of the will. Missing this deadline could mean you lose your chance to contest unless you have a really good reason for the delay and the court decides to give you some extra time.

Why is there a time limit? Well, the law likes to keep things moving along. It's not fair on the other people who stand to inherit if things are up in the air for ages. Plus, the assets might have already been handed out, making things more complicated and messy for everyone.

So, if you think you have a good reason to contest a will, it's best to get legal advice as soon as possible. Waiting too long could make it much harder for you to get what you believe is rightfully yours.

Will contesting a probate affect my inheritance?

If you're thinking of contesting a will, you might be wondering how this could affect what you're set to inherit. The answer isn't straightforward, in some cases, challenging a will might even lead the court to question your entitlement, and that could jeopardise what you’re supposed to inherit.

The outcome depends on a few things. First, if your contest is successful, the will could be revised, and that might actually increase your share. On the other hand, if you lose the case, you might end up with legal fees that could eat into any inheritance you were originally set to get.

Another thing to consider is family dynamics. Contesting a will can stir up emotions and potentially create rifts between family members. This could have long-term implications that go beyond the financial aspect of inheritance.

So, before contesting, it's a good idea to weigh up the pros and cons carefully. Make sure you've got solid grounds to contest and consult a legal expert to get a clearer picture of where you stand. It's a big decision, and it's important to be fully aware of the potential consequences, both good and bad.

Got questions or ready to get going? Just give us a ring on 0800 1380 458 or drop us a line through the website. Whenever you need us, we're here to help.

Our Contested Probate Solicitors

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David GreenwoodDirector and Solicitor
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Why Switalskis?

Contesting a probate can feel like you're navigating a maze, but we're here to guide you. At Switalskis, we offer clear, straightforward advice to make sure you know what you're doing.

Clarity in complexity

Probate disputes can be legally complex, but we make it easy to understand. Our solicitors are experts at simplifying tricky legal matters. We'll walk you through the entire process, from understanding the grounds for contesting to the type of evidence you'll need.

Empathy at every step

We know that challenging a probate is a big, emotional decision. Our team is not just knowledgeable in law; they're also excellent listeners. We'll focus on understanding your needs and situation, tailoring our advice to suit you.

Expertise you can trust

With years of experience under our belt, you can rely on us to provide solid, dependable advice. No matter how complicated your probate case may be, we've got the expertise to handle it smoothly.

Championing your rights

We're not just about the paperwork; we're your advocates from start to finish. Whether you're contesting a probate for the first time or have been through this before, we're committed to securing the best possible outcome for you.

Find out how Switalskis can help you

If you're considering contesting probate and want to know the best way to go about it, our team is here to offer advice that's tailored to you.

Give us a call on 0800 1380 458 or send us a message through our website to get things moving.

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