Even when a valid Will is in place, disputes can arise during the probate process (dealing with a deceased person’s estate), and obviously, this can be highly distressing at an already emotional time. Often, disputes are over the contents of the Will, mismanagement of the estate or the interpretation of the Will, accusations of fraud, or from those who expected to inherit but didn’t.
When this happens, the legal process in dealing with these disputes is typically known as ‘contentious probate’, and unfortunately, disputes of this nature are on the increase.
At Jackson Longe Solicitors, our specialist team of contentious probate solicitors has longstanding experience handling disputes over Wills and inheritance claims. We can also help families defend against a challenge to a Will or how the estate is distributed.
Wills and Inheritance Disputes – How we can help
We understand the emotional and legal challenges of dealing with an inheritance or Will dispute. Our experienced dispute resolution team is
on hand to guide you through the process and find the right solution.
Please get in touch if you need advice regarding your inheritance dispute or other matter relating to contentious probate, including:
- Challenging a Wil
- lInheritance Act Claims for dependents not sufficiently provided for in a Will
- Disputes regarding Trusts
- Executor Disputes
- Disputes regarding the beneficiaries of a Will
- Proprietary Estoppel Claims
Grounds for Challenging a Will
To challenge a Will or contest probate, you must have a valid ‘legal reason’ to do so, not just because you disagree with it. The main legal reasons for contentious probate are:
- Lack of testamentary capacity – if you believe someone did not have the mental or legal ability to make a Will at the time the Will was executed.
- Lack of valid execution – where a Will is drawn up without the proper legal requirements or formalities.
- Lack of knowledge and approval – if you believe the person making the Will was unaware of its content.
- Undue influence – if you believe someone was manipulated or pressured to write a Will or change the contents of an existing one.
- Fraud or forgery – if you believe the Will is fake, has forged a signature, or uses false information about another beneficiary to make the testator cut them out of the Will.
Regardless of how complex you feel your circumstances are, our highly experienced Wills and Inheritance dispute solicitors in Richmond can offer the clarity you need over your legal rights, guiding you through the options available to you.
The Inheritance Act 1975
If you believe that a valid Will has not provided what you were expecting or were entitled to, you could make a claim under The Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975 (the “1975 Act”). However, stringent rules apply over who can make a claim under these circumstances.
Under the act, a Will (or the intestacy rules) can be disputed on the basis that it fails to adequately provide for specific categories of people, known as eligible claimants, which include one of the following:
- A spouse of the deceased.
- A former spouse of the deceased. This only applies if you have not remarried.
- A partner who lived with the deceased for at least two years immediately before death.
- A child of the deceased.
- A person who was treated as a child by the deceased and family of the deceased.
- Someone who was financially supported by the deceased.
To claim under these categories, you must demonstrate that the provision made (if there was no provision at all) is not reasonable. Various complex factors will determine what the court considers is ‘reasonably necessary’ or how they will make an award. Claims under the Act must be issued at court within six months of the Grant of Probate or Letters of Administration date. Therefore, seeking legal advice as soon as possible about whether such a claim is valid to contest the Will is essential.
We can ensure you fully understand your position, guiding you through the process every step of the way. Contact our contentious probate solicitors today to find out more about Inheritance Act claims.
Contentious Probate Solicitors Richmond
Jackson Longe has an experienced probate legal team who specialises in Wills, Inheritance and Trusts disputes. Our inheritance and probate solicitors in Richmond, London, regularly deal with all types of disputes and can act for a wide range of clients, including beneficiaries, individuals, executors, and trustees.
Understandably, disputes of this nature can be extremely daunting, and we will take a practical yet sensitive approach. We will work with you to try and resolve matters in a way that avoids litigation, maintains family relationships, and reaches an early settlement where possible. For example, we can employ various Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) methods, such as negotiation or mediation, wherever appropriate. However, if this is unsuccessful and court proceedings are unavoidable, our experienced litigation team is committed to resolving your matter as quickly and cost-effectively as possible via the courts.
Contact our Contentious Probate Solicitors
Call us between 9:30AM-5.30PM on 0208 332 2069 or fill out the form.
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