When someone writes a will, they believe their wishes will be carried out as they have set out. However, and especially if they have created a DIY will, there may be issues in probate. Disputed probate is where one or more persons contest the will through a legal challenge, often for the following reasons:
- Lack of capacity – This is where it is claimed the testator did not understand the implications of their actions or the extent of the property being disposed. This will often come from the testator suffering Alzheimer’s or dementia at the time of writing their will.
- Invalid will – Wills must meet certain legal requirements set out in the Wills Act 1837, such as being signed, dated and witnessed by two independent witnesses. If these have not been met, then there may be a valid legal challenge to be made.
- Undue influence – A claim may be made if there is a risk the testator was under pressure to make alterations in favour of particular individuals or groups.
- Financial dependence – These are claims under the Inheritance Act, which is set out in more detail on our Inheritance Act Disputes page.
At Monarch, our specialised and experienced solicitors can give advice on many different grounds for contesting a will, such as whether:
- The testator has/had the necessary capacity
- There are issues of fraud
- The will has been executed in line with the Wills Act 1837
- There are issues of coercion or undue influence
- The testator had the necessary knowledge and approval
Our specialist solicitors can also offer advice on:
- Interpretation of a will or trust
- Disputes between beneficiaries and executors/trustees
- Drafting errors
- Incorrect administration
- Distribution of estate issues
- Applications to substitute or remove trustees
If you are a beneficiary to a will and wish to dispute it, there is a statutory TWELVE-MONTH TIME LIMIT in which to make a claim. However, if the probate dispute involves accusations of fraud then there are no time limits. In any event it is vital to seek advice as soon as possible to prevent the estate assets being distributed to other beneficiaries. However, challenging probate after distribution is still possible, but may prove problematic.
Contesting probate is difficult at the best of times, even more so when it involves disagreements between family members. Our specialist solicitors can help give you advice on how to achieve the best possible outcome and attempt to preserve family relationships in such a stressful situation.
Contact our Probate Solicitors:
If you would like to enquire for any of our services please complete our online contact form here or send an email to us at [email protected] and one of our solicitors shall call you back.
Alternatively, please call our Probate solicitors on 0330 127 8888 for a no obligation discussion.
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Yes, you can contest on the basis the Will has not been correctly executed because the testator lacked the necessary mental capacity; The testator lacked knowledge or approval of the contents of their Will; The testator was subject to undue influence; The Will is forged/fraudulent.
If you feel that you have not been sufficiently provided for (if at all) you can make a claim under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975.
Timing can be of critical importance in probate disputes. For example, any claim under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependents) Act 1975 must be made within six months of the issue of the Grant of Probate.
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