There is a wide range of issues which might cause you to think about a contentious probate claim [or contesting a will as it is sometimes known] in England and Wales. There are however some reasons which are more common than others, and certain things which anyone in the position of making a probate challenge claim should think about before taking any legal action.
Inheritance Act Claims
If someone in the close family has recently died and didn’t leave you anything in their will as you had expected, you might be able to make an inheritance claim. These rules only apply if you live in England or Wales as different legal systems apply in Northern Ireland and Scotland. Not all family members are entitled to make an inheritance claim. Those who have the right to make a claim include
• the deceased’s spouse or civil partner
• a cohabitee for a period of more than two years
• their child
• an ex-spouse
Is the Will Valid?
In certain situations, people may believe that a will left by someone who has died is not valid and can be challenged through the courts. The grounds for challenging a will and its validity in this way include legal technicalities, undue influence on the person making the will, lack of capacity, lack of knowledge or approval and devastavit.
• Technicalities – these could include situations where the will has not been drawn up properly or has not been witnessed properly. If this happens, the will is declared invalid and the estate of the deceased is then split as if the will had never existed.
• Undue Influence – these are situations when the person making the will was coerced, threatened or put under pressure by a third party to make a will to benefit them.
• Lack of Knowledge, Approval or Capacity – these are legal terms for situation where it is known or suspected that the person making the will was not fully aware of what they were doing. This can include people with mental health problems or people who could not read what they were signing.
• Devastavit – this is professional negligence by the person who was in charge of sorting out the estate. In these cases they are liable personally for any errors.
Funding a contested probate claim – is No Win No Fee available?
There are several funding options available including paying privately, the possibility of using any legal expenses insurance you may have, and finally “no win no fee” arrangements. Some costs have to be paid upfront, so talk the costs through with your solicitor before starting the legal wheels in motion.
The good news is that here at Bonallack and Bishop, we offer no win no fee arrangements for appropriate contested will and inheritance claim cases. Click here to read more about how no win no fee can help you find your legal costs.
Contested probate cases – be aware of the consequences
Perhaps the most important thing to consider in any contentious probate claim is that often these sorts of legal battles can cause permanent rifts with your nearest and dearest – after a contentious probate claim family relationships will never be the same again. This is almost certainly the last thing that the loved one you will have lost would have wanted.
Your contested will claim – getting the right advice
It’s really important to get legal advice from a solicitor who specialises in this particular field of law. Look for someone with lots of experience in the field, and don’t be embarrassed to ask as many questions as you need to before finally instructing your solicitor.
Fortunately here at local Salisbury Solicitors, Bonallack and Bishop, we specialise in will dispute claims – both for clients locally in Wiltshire, and nationwide.
Want To Contest A Will in Salisbury? Contact our specialist, local solicitors first
For FREE initial phone advice about your will challenge or inheritance claim
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