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How our contentious probate solicitors can help

Our specialist contentious probate lawyers can help you with contesting a will, Inheritance Act claims, and probate and trust disputes.

Whether you are a trustee, an executor or a beneficiary, we will carefully guide you through the entire estate dispute process. We tailor our approach for every claim or potential claim, based on its specific and unique circumstances and will provide a balance of understanding and practical advice to ensure matters are dealt with as smoothly as possible to reach the best resolution.

Appreciating that taking a claim to court can be costly, we focus on resolving matters without the need for court intervention where possible, using alternative dispute resolution methods to bring estate dispute claims to a successful conclusion whilst minimising costs, risk and stress.

However, if court intervention is necessary, you can rest assured that we have some of the best litigation lawyers in the country.

Highly experienced will dispute solicitors

Our team of experts are highly experienced and regularly deal with all types of will and estate disputes arising from a variety of situations.

We frequently advise on cases such as dealing with invalid wills, issues arising from negligent will drafting, undue influence, losses arising from probate fraud or forgery, issues relating to lack of mental capacity and problems arising from executors failing to carry out their duties properly or effectively.

We also have considerable experience in dealing with large and complex estates, particularly where rural and agricultural property is involved or assets are held in different countries.

What is contentious probate?

Contentious probate is a dispute involving inheritance or the validity of a will, usually over a disagreement after someone has passed away relating to the distribution of their estate.

Contentious probate disputes may arise in a variety of situations where there are:

  • Invalid wills and/or negligent drafting
  • Issues of undue influence i.e. being put under pressure to leave items to others
  • Issues of lack of mental capacity i.e. not being of sound mind
  • Circumstances of fraud or forgery
  • Executors failing to properly carry out their duties and deal with the estate
  • Rectification of mistakes
  • Other issues arising between beneficiaries and executors

Do I have to go to court to contest probate?

No, you do not necessarily need to issue court proceedings to contest a will or make a claim against an estate.

The costs involved in taking a contentious probate claim to court can be high but we regularly use alternative dispute resolution as a means of bringing claims to a successful resolution whilst minimising costs and risk. Alternative dispute resolution can be a less stressful and emotional way of settling claims. Of course, however, we can take a dispute to court if that is a necessary and appropriate way of bringing a claim to a conclusion.

How long do you have to bring a contentious probate dispute?

If you are a disappointed beneficiary of a will or an intestacy and you want to recover financial provision from the deceased’s estate, then you may be able to bring a claim under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975 (“Inheritance Act”).

However, there are strict time limits you must adhere to, and you are required by legislation to issue a claim in court within six months of the Grant of Probate being obtained. Failure to do so may invalidate your claim.

While it is sometimes possible to issue a claim after the six-month deadline, the court must be satisfied that you have a valid reason for the delay.

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