Services for me

Will Disputes/Contentious Probate

Despite the making of a will a wide variety of disputes can arise in relation to estates. 

The prospect of litigation can hinder the bereavement process but our highly experienced team of solicitors are available to advise and guide you through what may at first appear a complex and emotionally charged set of circumstances towards a resolution.      

We have substantial experience in 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;
  2. want of capacity;
  3. want of knowledge and approval;
  4. undue influence; and
  5. fraud.
  • Claims regarding agreements or promises made by the deceased before death
  • Intestacies and partial intestacies
  • Caveats, warnings and appearances
  • Applications to rectify wills
  • Applications to remove/substitute personal representatives
  • Claims concerning the administration of an estate
  • Costs in probate claims

In addition to representing private individuals, executors or beneficiaries we also receive instructions from the Administrators of estates, whether they are other solicitors, large and small trust corporations or will drafting companies.  Our specialist reputation results in our being instructed by clients both nationwide and abroad.

Strict statutory time limits exist within contentious probate claims. It is therefore always advisable to make an early enquiry so as not to disadvantage your claim or defence.  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.

Making a Will

It is only by making a Will that you can ensure that the assets you have worked hard to acquire during your life pass in accordance with your wishes when you die. 

If you do not make a Will then the law imposes certain rules, known as the rules of intestacy, which determine what happens to your estate. The way those rules operate in your individual circumstances may be different from your wishes and this may cause difficulty for the individuals you intended to benefit.  

Executors

Executors are the people you appoint in your Will who are responsible for administering your estate in accordance with its provisions.  It is therefore important to ensure that the person or persons you appoint are responsible and trustworthy.  Just one executor can be appointed but it is advisable to appoint at least two (up to a maximum of four) in case the executor died before you or is unable or unwilling to act.  Executors can be family members, including children if they are over 18, friends or professionals, such as solicitors.        

Guardians

In your Will you can specify who will look after any minor children in the event that you are the sole surviving parent.

Beneficiaries

You should consider who will benefit under your Will.  Beneficiaries broadly fall into two categories.  A beneficiary can receive a fixed amount or a particular item – known as a legacy – or a share of your estate after all debts, expenses and legacies have been paid.  Your Will can also say what is to happen should a beneficiary have died before you.  mfg are happy to advise and guide you through the options.       

For more information on Wills or to enquire about our free initial consultations please call to speak to one of our friendly experts.

Will Disputes

We have substantial experience in dealing with:

  • Inheritance Claims (claims under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975)
    • advising and representing both executors, beneficiaries and dependants who wish to  make a claim where inadequate provision has been made in a Will or on an intestacy
  • Challenging the validity of Wills whether due to:
    • want of due execution and want of capacity
    • want of knowledge and approval and undue influence and fraud
    • We act for those seeking to challenge a will and executors who seeking to uphold the validity of a Will.
  • Applications to Rectify Wills
  • Applications to remove/substitute Personal Representatives
  • Claims regarding agreements made with the deceased before death.

We will provide an assessment of the merits of the case at an early stage and also consider the possibility of alternative dispute resolution, such as mediation.

Time limits

Time limits exist within which these types of claim must be brought, an early enquiry is advisable to enable valuable evidence to be obtained as quickly as possible.

We are happy to have initial discussions with you on a free of charge basis.