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Contentious Probate

When those close to us die the last thing we want to have to deal with is a disagreement over their estate. However with the historic general upward trend in both the stock market and in property prices nationally, both contributing to a significant increase in average net estate values, it has led to a rise in the number of claims being brought for an entitlement, or an even greater entitlement from estates.  Typically these claims are brought by family members or other parties close to the deceased who may be dissatisfied with their current entitlement and this can be the case whether or not the deceased left a will.  

Whether you wish to bring a claim or find yourself having to defend a claim, the whole process can be very stressful and time consuming.  It is therefore important that you choose to instruct specialist solicitors who have not only have the depth of experience in this niche area of the law but who can also appreciate and sympathise with the emotional cost that these disputes can cause.         

We are one of the largest recognised specialist teams of solicitors outside of London whose practice is entirely devoted to contentious probate.  We also work very closely with solicitors who specialise in estate planning, tax and administration allowing you access to a complete service offering covering every aspect of probate.  Our substantial experience in contentious probate matters includes both bringing and defending claims involving:

  • Inadequate or no financial provision from an estate

The Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975

  • Challenging the validity of wills
  1. want of due execution – where the will has not been properly signed;
  2. want of capacity – where it is alleged the Testator did not have the mental ability to make a will;
  3. want of knowledge and approval – where it is alleged the Testator may not have read, understood or approved the contents of the will;
  4. undue influence or duress – where it is alleged the Testator may have been made to sign the will against their own free will by third parties; and
  5. fraud or forgery – where it is alleged the will was not signed by the Testator or the will has been otherwise tampered with in some way.
  • Claims regarding agreements or promises made by the deceased before death
  • Claims where the original will has been lost
  • Intestacies and partial intestacies
  • Caveats, warnings and appearances
  • Applications to rectify mistakes in wills
  • Applications to remove/substitute personal representatives
  • Claims concerning the administration of an estate
  • Costs in probate claims

*WARNING – STRICT TIME LIMITS APPLY TO CERTAIN CLAIMS.  EARLY ADVICE AND ACTION CAN PROTECT YOUR CLAIM OR DEFENCE*

If you feel that any of the above are relevant to your circumstances you should not hesitate to contact us to discuss your matter further as early advice and action are important to a successful outcome. Our team of specialist solicitors will be happy to discuss your matter and advise you accordingly.

In all matters we will provide an assessment of the merits of the case at an early stage and also consider the possibility of mediation.  Mediation is given great emphasis by the courts in contentious probate claims and often provides a successful resolution to a claim being a far more cost effective route than proceeding to a fully contested trial.

Our solicitors have forged close working relationships with specialist barristers over a number of years which ensure that our clients consistently benefit from the best legal advice available.