What is contentious probate?

Contentious probate refers to any disputes about an individual’s Estate after they have passed away. This process can be difficult for families and 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.

What is contentious probate, and why do I need a solicitor?

Contentious probate refers to a legal dispute that arises when the validity of a Will or the distribution of an Estate is called into question. For example, this can happen when a family member or other interested party feels that they have not been fairly treated in the Will, or they suspect that the Will was made under duress or without proper legal formalities – both reasons that can invalidate the contents.

In such cases, a solicitor can play a crucial role in helping to resolve the dispute. This may involve advising on the legal options available, such as contesting the Will, negotiating a settlement with other beneficiaries, or issuing a claim at Court.

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.

Contentious probate when there is no Will

When someone dies without leaving a valid Will, it is known as intestacy. In such cases, the law sets out who should inherit the deceased person’s assets. This can lead to disputes between family members or others close to the deceased, especially if significant assets are involved or questions about the deceased’s wishes. These disputes are still considered to be contentious probate, and you should always contact a solicitor if you feel the Will or the Estate is not being correctly handled.  If you need help drafting a Will or advice on contentious probate contact us on info@gamlins.co.uk

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