Inheritance, Wills & Trust Disputes Solicitors, York, Wetherby & Malton
Whether you are an executor or an administrator of a deceased person's estate, a beneficiary or someone who should receive part of an estate, our expert team of solicitors is on hand to advise you on all aspects.
What is Contentious Probate?
Contentious probate is a dispute concerning an inheritance, deceased's estate or a Will.
Our specialist contentious probate solicitors understand that disputes of this kind can cause a great deal of worry and heartache at what is already a difficult time. We work quickly and efficiently to resolve your dispute, minimising the disruption for you and your family.
Contentious Probate Services
Our contentious probate specialists are experienced in dealing with all types of estate, Will and inheritance disputes and have acted on behalf of trustees, personal representatives, beneficiaries and people challenging the distribution of an estate. We are dedicated to your best interests and will be with you all the way.
We can help with the following:
- financial provision claims: helping people claim the financial provision to which they are entitled
- helping people recover assets which were promised to them by the deceased.
- rectification claims: handling clerical and other errors in Wills.
- trust disputes: solving many different types of disputes between personal representatives or trustees, and beneficiaries.
- validity claims: challenging or supporting the validity of Wills.
- negligence claims: covering situations such as mistakes in Wills or delays in preparing a Will.
Some of the more frequently encountered situations where we are asked to advise include:
- dissatisfaction with the financial provision received out of the deceased person's estate, whether under the terms of the Will or the rules upon intestacy;
- lost or destroyed Wills;
- contesting Wills made under duress or undue influence, or where the person concerned did not sufficiently understand what he or she was doing or did not properly execute the Will.
- allegations of property being misappropriated;
- forged Wills;
- disputes involving executors, administrators, trustees and beneficiaries
As experienced contentious probate solicitors, we regularly help trustees, personal representatives, beneficiaries and people challenging the distribution of an estate to solve Will and inheritance disputes.
Even if there is a Will, there may be grounds for dispute. Issues may arise in relation to the division of assets, the validity of the Will, identification of the beneficiaries or the actions of the executors.
It may also be possible for disappointed potential beneficiaries to bring a claim against the estate if they have not been left with reasonable financial provision (whether or not there is a Will).
Reasons why you might contest a Will
You might contest a Will because:
You do not think the Will is valid
There are several grounds on which the validity of a Will can be challenged.
- Lack of mental capacity - the deceased person did not appreciate the extent of the estate or the significance of the Will. In order for a Will to be valid, the person making the Will must be capable of understanding:
- That he or she is making a Will and the nature and effect of making a Will.
- What assets are to be disposed of by the Will.
- The claims of those who might expect to benefit from the Will (both those being included in and being excluded from the Will).
- Lack of knowledge or approval - the deceased was not aware of or in agreement with the content of the Will. An example of this would be if instructions for a Will were given by another person and the deceased signed the Will without having read or approved it.
- Undue influence - the deceased entered into a Will which he would not have otherwise entered into as a result of pressure or influence from another person. The influence from another person has to be more than simple persuasion or a suggestion that the Will is written in a certain way.
- Fraud or forgery - the Will is not the deceased's Will but an entirely false document or the Will was tampered with or signed by someone other than the deceased.
- You do not think the estate is being administered properly.
There are rules relating to how executors, administrators and trustees of an estate act and administer the estate. Beneficiaries may have a claim against the executors if they act in breach of these rules. For example, executors or administrators who make profit from the estate or who fail to deal with the estate in accordance with the Will. A court can order that the executors perform their duties correctly or are replaced.
- You were promised something by the deceased but it is not within the Will.
Generally, despite whatever the deceased has said in his lifetime, he is free to leave whatever he wants to whoever he wants in his Will. There are limited circumstances, however, when it may be possible to bring a claim against the estate for the promise to be honoured if that promise is not reflected by the Will. If the deceased made a promise to you and you have suffered in some way because you relied on that promise, you may have a claim against the estate.
What are the time limits for a contentious probate claim?
There are important time limits - as short as 6 months from the date of the grant of probate or letters of administration - in which to bring a claim. It is vital to seek advice at a very early stage if a claim is to be successful.
Contact our Inheritance, Wills & Trust Disputes Lawyers in Yorkshire
To find out more about our Will, Inheritance or Trust Dispute services and how we can help you, call us today on 01904 716000 (York) or 01937 583210 (Wetherby) or 01653 692247 (Malton), or complete our online enquiry form.