Contested Wills and Financial Provision
What is Contentious Probate?
Contentious probate refers to any dispute relating to the administration of a deceased person’s estate.
It could involve a dispute over the interpretation of a Will, a dispute between executors and beneficiaries or about the value of assets. Contested probate is not limited to contesting a Will and sometimes there is no Will – if the dispute involves an intestate estate.
When a person dies without a Will this is known as intestacy. There are fixed ‘rules of intestacy’ which dictate who gets what in this situation. However, they are inflexible, make no arrangement for unmarried partners or dependents or any verbal promises the person who has died may have made while they were alive, which are not taken into account.
This process can be difficult for families and can lead to many mixed feelings, but understanding when an estate can be contested can help answer many questions, and make a troubling time less confusing for all.
Disputes over the validity of a Will or how probate is being handled are common and can be very complex, especially where there are substantial assets involved. Conflict often also arises over decisions the deceased made before their death, as well as in relation to trusts and jointly owned properties.
Why do I need a solicitor?
In such cases, a solicitor can play a crucial role in representing their client’s interests and helping to resolve the dispute. This may involve advising on the legal options available to the client, such as contesting the Will, negotiating a settlement with other beneficiaries, or seeking a court order to protect their client’s interests.
Contentious probate disputes
Contentious probate disputes can happen for a variety of reasons, including but not limited to:
- ‘Further provisions’ – this is common among spouses and children who feel they should have received more from the deceased’s Will, especially if they were financially dependent on them under legislation.
- Issues with executors of the Will, such as a disagreement regarding the appointment or actions of one.
- Lifetime gifts and promises.
- Mistakes and disagreements, such as a dispute over the correct ownership of property or the value of an asset.
We can help you with a range of issues relating to there being no Will?
- a partner who was not married to the deceased, who hasn’t been provided for
- a child or another dependant who hasn’t been provided for
- when a married partner who is now estranged has inherited – this can sometimes occur if someone dies unexpectedly
- arguments over who should administer the estate.
“With the right legal advice and guidance, most contentious probate disputes can be resolved smoothly and effectively, often without the need for court proceedings. We have the necessary experience and expertise to guide you through the difficult process of contesting a Will or bringing a claim against the estate.”