We offer a free inital interview to people needing advise on whether you have a right to challenge a will
Make no mistake about it,contesting a will or objecting to Probate is a specialised job that most general practice lawyers have no clue about. A specialist contested probate solicitor is a rare lawyer having to have mastered the disciplines of both contentious and non contentious legal action. Most lawyers in the UK have their feet firmly planted in either court work which includes civil litigation and criminal representation or in areas of probate law that do not involve litigated advocacy such as trusts or conveyancing. In order to successfully contest a will or object to the appointment of particular executors or administrators or to take action for failure to properly carry out the role of executor it is essential that the lawyer dealing with these complex matters has detailed expertise and experience in both contentious and non-contentious matters.
Our lawyers deal with contentious probate, which may involve objecting to a will due to validity issues of the document in question or where there is a claim from someone who was not included as a beneficiary, or was inadequately provided for including relatives and dependants. We also deal with caveats which may delay or ultimately prevent the appointment of specific executors. In addition we can take action for the removal of executors or administrators where the appointment is inequitable or in circumstances where they may have carried out their duties negligently or fraudulently. If you would like to receive free initial advice about a contentious will from a specialist contested probate solicitor just complete the contact form or call the helpline without any further obligation. Matters that we can help with and with which we can usually give instant advice include:-
Legal claims for disputed probateissued in a court of law are increasing, particularly for home made or DIY kit wills. A disputed will can be challenged by a contested probate solicitor on behalf of a potential beneficiary in a court of law and may be held to be invalid if it fails to satisfy legal requirements which include:-
- the person making the will must be over 18 years old
- it must be made without undue influence from another person
- the person making it must be of sound mind and aware of its meaning
- it must be signed in the presence of two witnesses at the same time who must also sign in the presence of the person making the will and eachotehr
- a witness who is a beneficiary will lose their inheritance whilst the will remains valid
If the situation of a lost will arises it is possible in certain circumstances for a contested probate solicitor to use a copy of the will to obtain a grant of probate however such action may be challenged by the beneficiaries of an earlier will who may attempt to show that the later will was not lost but destroyed by, or upon the instructions of, the person making the will in an attempt to revoke the document such method being allowed by law. In these circumstances it is up to the beneficiaries of the later will to prove that the destruction or loss of the will was not an intentional revocation by the person making it. In these cases it is inevitably necessary to provide detailed evidence supported by witnesses or documentation to prove such a contested claim in a court of law.
If there is no provision for a dependent in a will then the terms of the will can be challenged and the court can make provision for those who should have been provided for which includes a spouse, partner, a minor or a mentally disabled person. Anyone who a court may consider to be a dependent is entitled to take legal action on the basis that the deceased had a responsibility to them which was not properly discharged.
Inheritance Tax Disputes
It does sometimes happen that executors or administrators object to the assement of inheritance tax made by the Capital Taxes Office. We are often able to assist in these cases particularly by use of a deed of variation of the will or simply by representation in negotiations with the tax authority.
If my you have any questions and want an immediate response please contact our Mr Kevin Neary who is happy to answer your questions by return of email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
An example of our work
Proceedings we issued were successfully settled in substantial estate valued at approsimately £1 million. The Defendant agreed to a court ruling revoking a home made will is his favour . The Estate now passes to the next of kin of the deceased who stood to be disinherited under the terms of the will
We successfully argued that at the time of the will that the deceased was not capable of making a will and therefore lacked testamentary capacity . The Client was represented by Sheean Grattan BL and Patrick Lyttle QC instrcted by this office.