Dealing with a loved one’s estate after their death is never an easy process. When issues occur that mean you have to turn to a probate dispute solicitor, it can make that trying time a lot more difficult. Expanding your knowledge on probate disputes, along with hiring the right solicitor, can make dealing with estate disputes a little easier.
Van Eaton solicitors are experienced probate dispute lawyers based in London, who aim to give every client the outcome they deserve as efficiently as possible, all the while paying due care and attention to the emotional strain this may be inflicting upon them.
Do you want more information on instances where probate can be disputed? Read our article below to see how we can help you.
Capacity and Duress
A will may be declared invalid unless the person making it did so of their own free will and knew exactly what they were doing. If you are seeking to contest a will on the grounds that the deceased wasn’t of sound mind when they made the will, or that they suffered from a mental disorder, you will need to claim as such.
You could claim that the deceased did not understand the effect of their will, or they were put under pressure by another party to draft it. Disputes arise if claimants also note that the deceased did not know the consequences of excluding someone from their will.
The Mental Capacity Act 2005 sets out a framework for assessing a person’s mental capacity, however, this is not relevant if a will was made before the Act came into place, except for statutory wills that are made with the court’s assistance.
Undue influence can be claimed if you believe the deceased was coerced into drafting a will. You must have indisputable evidence to prove this, as it cannot be claimed just because, for example, someone you didn’t expect received assets. Once you make a claim, the burden of proof falls on the accuser.
Van Eaton are probate dispute solicitors based in London who have experience in dealing with disputes concerning trusts or estates. If you believe that a deceased person was not of sound mind when they made their will, we can help you get the outcome you desire as quickly as possible.
Claims of poor administration can be made if you believe the executors or administrators of the deceased person’s estate are not doing an adequate job of carrying out the administration of the estate. The executor of a will is usually named by the deceased prior to their death, and they are responsible for carrying out the deceased’s wishes.
Typical duties carried out by the executor include arranging the funeral, arranging costs and taking care of any debts the deceased had prior to their death. Once all debts and the funeral have been settled and taken care of, the executor then moves on to distribute the deceased’s assets per their wishes. However, this doesn’t always go to plan.
The executor may sometimes be unable to carry out the deceased’s wishes, and in some cases, they may be unwilling. If you believe this to be the case, you can contact a probate dispute lawyer to help you make an appropriate claim and gather evidence in order to contest
You can claim inadequate provision if you believe that the will or intestacy rules do not provide you with enough financial provisions to support yourself. You can make this claim if you are the spouse, former spouse, or civil partner of the deceased, the child or someone who was treated as the deceased’s child, or if you were being maintained by the deceased. You may bring this claim under the Inheritance (provisions for family and dependants) Act 1975. You can read more about making a claim under this act here.
As long as a person was not coerced and was of sound mind when they made their will, then they can distribute it however they see fit. If the deceased did not have a will, then statute law decides who gets what (usually, it is the deceased’s next of kin). If you apply to the court with a claim of inadequate provision, you must show that you should have received something from the estate, or if you have received some assets and you believe you should have acquired more.
The purpose of the Inheritance Act 1975 is to provide redistribution of the estate on the basis that the will or intestacy rules do not make reasonable financial provision for the claimant. If you believe you were entitled to some or more of a deceased person’s estate, our probate dispute lawyers here at Van Eaton are on hand to help you establish your claim and receive your provisions as soon as possible.
Much like the inadequate provisions claim where an applicant believes they should be entitled to some of the deceased person’s assets, estoppel is a claim made when the deceased made promises to the applicant during their life, but these promises weren’t reflected in the will. It can also happen if the deceased did not leave a will.
For instance, a person may be able to claim if they provided unpaid work for the deceased, on the basis that they would receive something in return, such as shelter. This claim is known as ‘proprietary estoppel’. An estoppel claim may also involve the promise of money, known as a ‘promissory estoppel.’
You can make this claim on certain grounds, such as instances where the deceased made promises to you during their lifetime and you relied on this promise, and if your reliance resulted in detriment to your finances.
We hope that this article has made the different types of probate disputes a little easier to understand. There are, of course, many more reasons why probate disputes occur, and it is always a good idea to prepare yourself for any eventuality.
If you believe you have reasonable evidence and grounds to make a claim against a deceased person’s estate, we’re here to help. Van Eaton are a reputable team of probate dispute lawyers and solicitors who can help you get the results you want as efficiently as possible. To get in touch, give us a call on 07736790321. Alternatively, you can fill out our online form.
Van Eaton Solicitors, Streatham, London