- Contesting a will
- Resolving arguments about a will
- Removing executors
- Resolving cases when executors disagree
- Mistakes in a will
- Ambiguous, or poorly written wills
- Undue influence of a beneficiary
Disputing a will
In England and Wales individuals are generally free to leave their property and belongings to who they choose. Sometimes, however, the terms of a Will may come as a surprise, or there may be something odd about it: family members who expect to inherit are not included, comparative strangers receive large gifts, the signature looks wrong or the Will was made when the person was unwell or frail.
If you are facing a situation like this, you are not alone and should seek advice. Whilst it may be that the disputed Will was properly made, the suspicious circumstances could point toward there being grounds for contesting it.
What are the grounds for contesting a Will?
The grounds for disputing a Will include that the person making the Will (known as the testator):
– Has not or has not correctly executed the Will;
– Did not have mental capacity to do so;
– Did not have sufficient knowledge of the terms of the Will;
– Had pressure applied on them
– Was provided with false information which made them include or exclude someone;
If you are worried about a situation like this, our online Will dispute advice service will help you to decide whether you might have grounds to contest the Will and explains when the validity of a Will can be challenged.
Below are the answers to a few of the questions we are asked most frequently about Will disputes.
How do I successfully contest a Will?
Challenging a Will can seem daunting – those wanting advice are grieving for a loved one and taking steps to dispute a Will is often not a priority.
Where there are concerns, however, it is important to take initial steps to protect your position. This is done by registering a Caveat – this prevents a Grant of Probate being made. A Grant of Probate is authority to distribute the testator’s estate in accordance with his Will. A ‘caveat’ therefore provides time to investigate the merits of challenging the disputed Will.
At this stage a solicitor specialising in Will disputes can advise you on the information obtained and the merits of your Will claim.
How much does it cost to dispute a Will?
People worry about the cost of taking a Will dispute to Court. However, depending on the facts of each case, the costs of undertaking initial investigations are much more modest. It will only be if the claim has sufficient merit that further costs will normally be incurred.
Furthermore, most claims challenging a Will do not reach trial. Instead, most Will dispute cases that have merit are settled by agreement or through mediation before Court proceedings are commenced.
How can we help you?
Our specialist will dispute lawyers resolve disagreements as quickly as possible. We are one of the largest and most experienced teams of Will dispute solicitors in the country and we have successfully dealt with all manner of will disputes – including many instances where our clients believed there was no prospect of reaching a settlement.
As all our solicitors belong to the Association of Contentious Trust and Probate Specialists, you will be looked after by an expert. We guide you through the process step by step.
We understand that, for many of our clients, disputing a will is a last resort. You can rest assured we will handle your dispute with care and sensitivity.
We listen to your instructions carefully and arrange payment terms that suit your circumstances; in many cases we offer fixed fees, deferred payments, or no win, no fee terms.
Our lawyers are based in Tunbridge Wells , Kent, and London. Whilst many of our clients are from the South East (including Kent, Sussex, Surrey and London), we act for clients based throughout England and Wales and from abroad. We are always willing to meet with our clients at any of our offices or at home or their place of work. We also meet with clients via online communication channels, such as Skype or video conferencing. Wherever our clients are based, we ensure we communicate with them in a way that suits their needs.
Call us for a free no obligation consultation.
- Successfully bringing a claim against an estate worth in excess of £50 million. The client received a very significant seven figure settlement plus annual income, the exact terms being confidential.
- Acting for a client in a complex Inheritance Act dispute requiring an application to the Probate Registry to cancel a grant of probate improperly obtained and negotiating with multi-party defendants in numerous jurisdictions.
- Defending a challenge to a £2 million estate involving minors and complex business assets for the children of a prominent local businessman.
- Successfully resolving via mediation a complex multi-party dispute concerning an estate valued at £6 million. Claims from the parties involved promissory and proprietary estoppel, Inheritance Act claims, removal and appointment of alternative executors, rectification of wills, claims of undue influence and off-shore asset tracing.
- Acting for a beneficiary under a substantial family trust containing assets valued by that trust of £20 million. The core issue concerned the mismanagement of the trust by the trustees.
- Challenging the validity of a will with an estate valued in excess of £1 million. The case concerned allegations of forgery and the use of expert handwriting evidence.
- Acting for an adult child claimant in an Inheritance Act claim against the estate of deceased father. Proceedings were issued within two weeks of instructions from the client due to the pressure of limitation. The matter settled swiftly and favourably by correspondence.
- Acting for relatives of a deceased in defending an Inheritance Act claim against the estate. The deceased died intestate and the claim was brought against the estate by a friend of the deceased who claimed to have been living with the deceased as husband and wife in the two years immediately prior to her death.
- Acting for beneficiaries in a complex claim involving estate valued at seven figures with claims by the estranged husband of deceased under IPFDA 1975. Issues of severance of joint tenancy and application for an Occupation Order on behalf of beneficiaries in relation to deceased’s home owned jointly by the estranged husband, beneficiaries and deceased.
- Acting on behalf of clients in a long running trust dispute where an executor committed a serious breach of his duties. Proceedings against former executor for an account and recovery of losses as well as an associated professional negligence claim against the solicitors who acted for the former executors. The matter was successfully settled at a one day mediation
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