Disputed Wills and Probate Claims

If a dispute has arisen over a loved one’s estate, it is understandable to feel concerned and confused about what steps you should take to resolve it. Unfortunately, when family is involved, a disagreement over a Will or the probate process is often emotionally charged and can quickly spiral out of control. Our skilled and understanding contested probate solicitors are here to help you navigate these challenging issues and find a solution whilst minimising damage to your relationships with your family wherever possible.

We can assist with a wide range of disputed Wills and probate issues, from challenges to the validity of a Will to problems with the way an executor is handling probate.

With us on your side, you have the best possible chance of achieving a positive solution. We will explain the complex laws on Wills and probate in clear, simple English so that you can make an informed decision about how you want to proceed.

For advice about making or defending a disputed Will or probate claim, get in touch with our specialist contested Wills and probate solicitors in Winchester, Sunningdale, or Alresford. Alternatively, fill in our online enquiry form and a member of our team will be in touch shortly.

Our disputed Wills and probate services

Our expertise includes:

  • Challenging the validity of a Will
  • Caveats, warnings and appearances
  • Intestacy disputes where someone dies without making a Will
  • Inheritance claims under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975
  • Probate and estate administration disputes, including:
    • Disputes over the valuation of an estate
    • Disputes between executors or administrators
    • Disputes between executors/administrators and beneficiaries
    • Disputes between executors/administrators, trustees and beneficiaries
    • Removing and replacing executors

Disputed Wills

A Will must comply with the provisions of the Wills Act 1837 when it is signed and executed, otherwise it will be invalid. Disputes may arise due to a number of circumstances, such as:

  • A lack of mental capacity at the time that the testator signed the Will which raises the possibility that they could not have been aware or did not understand the contents of it at the time.
  • Undue influence that suggests the testator was manipulated into making or changing their Will
  • Fraud or forgery
  • The testator lacked knowledge of the contents of the Will and/or did not approve its contents
  • The Will was not witnessed properly
  • The Will was not signed or dated

If you suspect that a loved one’s Will is invalid, we can help you examine all the circumstances surrounding its execution and, where appropriate, make a legal claim too challenge its validity. Similarly, if you are an executor facing a Will challenge, we can provide a robust defence on your behalf.

Caveats, warnings and appearances

As part of any investigation and challenge into the validity of a Will, we can provide expert advice on:

Caveats – the process of stopping a grant of probate being issued where you need to investigate the validity of a Will. We can enter the caveat on your behalf and once in place, it can last up to six months or twelve months if extended.

Warnings – if you need to administer an estate that has been ‘blocked’ by a caveat, we can help you issue a warning to get the caveat removed so that you can obtain a grant of probate. This gives the person who issued the caveat eight days to respond. If they do not, you can issue an affidavit in the Probate Registry to get the caveat removed.

Appearances – if a caveat is challenged, you can file an appearance to keep it in force until the probate issue is resolved. Court proceedings may be required if you cannot come to an agreement with the other party about whether the caveat should stay in place.

Intestacy

If a person dies without leaving a Will, it can be hard for their family to know what their true wishes were. It can be particularly difficult for their closest loved ones who may feel forgotten or hard done by. Under the Rules of Intestacy that apply where a deceased person did not leave a Will, only certain people can inherit, such a spouses, civil partners and children. Unmarried partners and step-children cannot inherit. The Intestacy Rules also set out who can take on the estate administration.

Disputes can arise in a wide range of circumstances, such as:

  • The intestacy means that the testator has failed to make reasonable provision for someone who could have expected to inherit
  • The administrators are handling the estate administration poorly or dishonestly

If you are involved in a dispute arising from the intestacy of a loved one, we can provide advice about your options and the steps you can take to achieve the result you want.

Inheritance claims

If you have been left out of a loved one’s Will or they have not left you as much as you expected or needed, we can help you make a claim under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975.

Inheritance claims are difficult and often complex so it is important to get in touch with our contested probate solicitors as soon as possible to discuss the particulars of your case and your prospects of success.

Probate disputes

Executors or the administrators of a deceased’s estate have the responsibility of carrying out the estate administration and distribution or ‘probate’ and must do so in accordance with the provisions of the Will (or as provided under the Rules of Intestacy if no valid Will exists).

Persons who ‘intermeddle’ in the administration, or executors and administrators who do not carry out their obligations correctly, can be held to account by the beneficiaries and/or by the court. In these situations, the court has discretion to order that the executors or administrators are replaced.

We can advise on a wide range of probate disputes, including helping you challenge executors/administrators or defend a claim if you are challenged for the way you are administering an estate.

Get in touch with our disputed Wills and probate solicitors

For advice about making or defending a disputed Will or probate claim, get in touch with our specialist contested Wills and probate solicitors in Winchester, Sunningdale, or Alresford. Alternatively, fill in our online enquiry form and a member of our team will be in touch shortly.

 

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