25 May 2023

Understanding Contentious Probate

Understanding Contentious Probate: What is it?

Contentious probate refers to any dispute about an individual’s estate when they are no longer here. This process can be very stressful and difficult for families it can lead to many mixed feelings, including resentment of the deceased; but understanding when and if an estate can be successfully contested is sometimes necessary and make a troubling time less confusing for all.

Our experts look at what contentious probate is and how a solicitor can help you do what is best for you and your loved ones.

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

Contentious probate in the UK 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 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/partners and children who feel they should have received more from the deceased’s will, especially if they were financially dependent on them under the legislation and family circumstances have changed:

  • 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.

If there is no will:

  • Disputes over who should handle the estate and how they have acted.

Contentious probate when there is no will

In the UK, 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.

However, this can still 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., You should always contact a solicitor if you feel the will or the estate is not being correctly handled.

Surrey solicitors, Howell Jones, can help minimise the chance of probate disputes by helping you clearly express your wishes in your will. We are also able to support you should you wish to dispute the way someone’s wishes are being carried out. Contact a member of our team today for more information.

our lawyers deliver an excellent quality service, independently recognised by The Law Society and our many returning clients.

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