Many people fail to make a will, which results in thousands of people each year dying intestate.
This can prove to be an unnecessary hardship for families of those who have passed away, and the legal implications on inheritance can often be a delicate subject and one which is extremely complicated if there is no prepared will.
In circumstances such as this, the Crown decides how the estate of the deceased person should be split between the surviving relatives. This can be relatively straightforward, but in more complex cases leads to significant litigation, claims and counter-claims from the family.
Adams Law are a member of the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners (STEP) and are well versed in the procedures and latest developments of contentious probate. We provide an empathetic and understanding approach to each client, helping resolve every case quick and sensitive manner.
We can guide you through the complex legal processes to help you make a successful challenge and gain an appropriate share or your loved one's inheritance.
We know this is a highly sensitive and difficult time and therefore pride ourselves on being friendly and approachable but also highly professional.
We act for all parties including executors, beneficiaries and claimants, as well as parents and guardians of minors.
Contentious Probate Lawyers London
Every year, millions of people face issues and disputes concerning wills and probate.
Dealing with the estate of a deceased person, whether you are an executor or a beneficiary, is stressful enough in itself. The grieving process can be made even more distressing when disputes arise concerning the estate, the beneficiaries and different claims against the estate.
Problems can arise when, for example, relatives and dependents feel they have been left out unfairly of the deceased person's will, somebody unknown to the family has been nominated as executor, or someone has contested the will. No matter the nature of the dispute or how complicated it is, our highly knowledgeable lawyers can help you deal with the issue at this difficult time and secure for you the best possible outcome.
What is contentious probate?
Any dispute concerning the administration of a deceased person's estate comes under the term "contentious probate". Disputes occur for various reasons, for example over the value of the assets or in relation to the interpretation and validity of the will, and can arise at any stage of the administration of the estate. Since the executors are responsible for the deceased person's estate, any claims relating to the deceased can be brought against the executors. What's more, given that the claims can be brought up to 12 years from the date probate is issued, it is important that the matters be sorted out as soon as possible. That is why competent and professional assistance at the early stages is crucial.
We understand that you will want to wind up your loved one's estate without delay. At Adams Law, we work hard to resolve probate disputes quickly and cost-effectively, helping you to avoid unnecessary stress and disruption.
Issues that can cause contentious probate
Disputes in relation to probate can be wide-ranging and complicated. Here are just some of the possible issues:
- The will might not be valid if it was not written voluntarily and without influence.
- The will may not have been witnessed properly, or the witnesses may not have signed the will.
- The will may not have made sufficient provision according to the law on who is to claim what from the estate. If you feel you will not receive what you expected, you may be able to make a claim.
- The will might have been made by a person who did not have the proper mental capacity to make it.
- You may have been dependent on the deceased and you might feel that you have been left out of the will unfairly.
- The will might not accord with the wishes of the deceased.
- There might be a mistake of fact. For example, some facts may not have been described or recorded correctly.
- The executors or trustees may have failed to take up their duties responsibly, and you may want to apply for their replacement.
- There may be disputes about the costs incurred concerning the administration of the deceased's estate.
- There might be allegations of fraud, a disputed power of attorney or claims in relation to documents that have been drafted negligently by lawyers or other professionals.
All the above issues can give rise to contentious probate. If you feel you are affected by any of these matters or any other related issues, then do not hesitate to get in touch with us for a friendly and informative discussion about your situation. We will advise you on the best course of action.
How to deal with contentious probate?
If you believe you have been unfairly left out of the deceased's will as a beneficiary or you are facing a claim from another person, the first thing you need to do is to contact an expert to claim or defend your position as a rightful beneficiary. Our experts are on hand to provide swift advice and to take much of this burden off your shoulders. We will take a sensitive approach to your situation, make sure your best interests are protected at every stage and present a robust strategy for a successful outcome.
Where a will or probate process is contested, the administration of the estate may take significantly longer to wind up. We keep this in mind, and our priority is to get results in the best interests of our clients and in the shortest time possible.
Who can make a claim if there are disagreements about a will?
The following people can make a claim under the law:
- a spouse of the deceased;
- a former spouse where the deceased did not remarry;
- a partner who had lived for two years with the deceased immediately before his or her death;
- children of the deceased;
- someone who was treated as a child of the family by the deceased; and
- someone who was dependent upon or was maintained by the deceased.
The right to make a claim arises regardless of whether the provision is made in the will or not. If you are in doubt as to whether you can make a claim or not, do get in touch with us and we will advise you on your position.
Sadly, fraudulent wills are not an uncommon occurrence. Adams' team of probate solicitors can offer valuable guidance and support if you feel that a loved one's Will has been forged and wish to challenge it on this basis.
Examples of fraudulent Wills include:
- The original copy of the Will has been destroyed intentionally
- The Will was not signed in the presence of the two witnesses
- A forged signature has been used on the Will
- The person signing the Will was led to believe they were signing another document rather than a Will
Alleging that a Will has been forged is very serious – you need to be certain that there is reasonable evidence to support this. Our probate lawyers can offer essential advice before proceeding with a challenge on the ground that the Will is fraudulent.
Contact our Contentious Probate Lawyers in London
Should you wish to discuss any issue relating to Wills and probate, contact our friendly and sympathetic team based in Whitechapel, East London. On the same day, you contact us we will arrange an initial consultation, during which we will take the time to get to know about you, your situation and what you want the outcome to be. This will help us to provide you with the first-class legal expertise and superb customer care that our clients are used to. If you need help with making or defending a claim in contentious probate at any stage of litigation, then we are there to help you during these tough times.
To arrange a consultation, speak with a member of our probate team today on 0207 790 2000 or complete our online enquiry form.