With the ever escalating costs of administering an estate after the death of a loved one, and now the increased price for a each death certificate issued, we asked Guy Birtwistle, Associate Solicitor in our Wills and Probate department to...
Contentious Probate Solicitors
Expert legal guidance for making or defending a Will or probate claim
Unfortunately, many people either fail to make a Will or their Will is unclear which, can lead to a range of problems. Whether you’re challenging a Will or defending your position within a Will, our team has the knowledge, skills and experience to help.
Our contentious probate solicitors will work with you to identify your position and, wherever possible, find a way to deliver an outcome that matches your expectations while keeping conflict to a minimum.
We can advise on a range of inheritance disputes, including in relation to the validity of a loved ones Will, the circumstances surrounding the making of a Will, the capacity of the deceased to make a Will, and claims under the Inheritance Act 1975.
We can also advise you if there is a dispute over how probate is being handled by the Executor of the Will or the Estate Administrator where there was no Will.
We recognise that many people are concerned about the conflict that can be involved in inheritance disputes and the potential damage this can cause to family relationships. We will therefore tailor our approach to your priorities and can usually avoid court proceedings in most cases, helping to reduce the potential for any negative emotional fallout.
For friendly, clear, expert advice on dealing with your inheritance dispute, get in touch with our expert contentious probate team now.
Call now on:
01530 639 037 (Ashby de la Zouch office)
01827 758 040 (Tamworth office)
Or use the simple contact form on the right and a member of our team will be in touch shortly.
Our contentious probate expertise
We can offer clear, practical advice for resolving all kinds of disputes related to Will, probate and inheritance.
Disputes over the validity of a Will
There can be various reasons for disputing the validity of a Will, including where there is reason to believe the Will was not prepared correctly, that there is a more recent version of the deceased’s Will that should be used instead or that the Will is fraudulent.
Example of a Will not being properly prepared include where the person making the Will (the ‘testator’) did not have the mental capacity to make a valid Will, where the testator was pressured to make the Will or where the Will was not properly witnessed.
If it can be shown that the Will being used is not valid, an earlier Will created by the deceased may sometimes be used instead or the estate may be divided according to the rules of intestacy.
The time limits for Will claims depend on the nature of the claim and it is usually better to make a challenge before probate has been granted if possible. It is worth noting that there is no time limit for disputing a Will on the grounds of fraud.
Inheritance Act claims
If a dependant of the deceased feels the Will has not made ‘reasonable provision’ for them, they may be able to make a claim against the deceased’s estate under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975. These are commonly referred to as ‘Inheritance Act claims’.
What is considered reasonable provision will depend on the circumstances, but will generally be based on what sort of support the claimant was receiving from the deceased before they died or would have expected to receive if the deceased were still alive.
Inheritance Act claims can be complicated and you will usually need to bring as claim within 6 months of probate being granted, so it is essential to seek specialist legal advice at the earliest opportunity.
Where there are concerns over how probate is being handled by the Executor (or Estate Administrator if there was no Will), then it can be possible for the beneficiaries of the Will to have the Executor removed and replaced.
Example of conduct that may lead to a dispute include where the Executor or Estate Administrator is believed to be spending money from the estate inappropriately, where they are failing to move the probate process forward for no good reason or where they are unable to produce proper estate accounts on request.
Having an Executor or Estate Administrator removed usually involves applying to a court and having them replaced with a professional Executor, such as a solicitor. However, many of these types of disputes can be resolved amicably through negotiation with the Executor or Estate Administrator, so taking appropriate legal advice as soon as possible is advisable.
Our contentious probate fees
The cost of dealing with contentious probate will depend on the circumstances. While we may be able to offer some services, such as sending a letter before action, on a fixed fee basis, most of our contentious probate services will usually need to be offered on the basis of an agreed hourly rate.
We will be happy to discuss the likely costs involved at the outset and make sure you have all the information you need before making a decision on moving forward. We will then ensure you are kept up-to-date on costs at all times and that no expenditure occurs without your agreement.
Find out more about our pricing.
Why choose Fishers for contentious probate?
With decades of experience dealing with inheritance disputes across our Wills & Probate team, we can offer clear, effective advice on disputed Wills and estates, as well as where there are questions over how probate has been handled.
Our team includes members of the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners (STEP) reflecting our expertise with all areas of inheritance law.
Our team also includes a member of Solicitors for the Elderly (SFE) and two trained Dementia Friends, demonstrating our commitment to offering effective support to older and vulnerable people.
Get in touch with our contentious probate lawyers
To discuss how we could help you with your contentious probate issue please complete the short form at the top of the page and a member of our team will soon be in touch.