Probate is the legal process of proving the validity of a deceased person’s will and administering their estate. If you believe that the will of a deceased person is invalid or that the administration of their estate is not being handled correctly, you may want to contest probate. To contest probate in the UK can be a complex process, and it is important to understand the steps involved and the legal grounds on which you can challenge a will or the administration of an estate.
Step 1: Review the Will and Estate Documents
The first step in contesting probate is to review the will and any other estate documents, such as the grant of probate. This will help you to understand the details of the deceased person’s wishes and the distribution of their assets. If you believe that the will is invalid, you will need to have a clear understanding of the reasons why.
Step 2: Gather Evidence
If you believe that the will is invalid, you will need to gather evidence to support your case. This may include documents such as previous wills, evidence of undue influence or duress, or evidence that the deceased person was not of sound mind at the time the will was made.
Step 3: Consult a Solicitor
It’s crucial to hire a solicitor for contesting probate in the UK as the process of contesting probate can be complex and requires a deep understanding of the legal system. A solicitor will be able to advise you on the best course of action and help you to build a strong case.
Step 4: File a Caveat
A caveat is a legal notice that can be filed to temporarily prevent the grant of probate from being issued. This can be useful if you need more time to gather evidence or if you believe that the estate is being administered incorrectly.
Step 5: Apply to Court
If you believe that the will is invalid or that the estate is being administered incorrectly, the final step is to apply to the court. The court will consider the evidence you have presented and decide on the validity of the will or the administration of the estate.
It’s critical to remember that contesting probate can be a challenging, time-consuming process that can also be expensive. But it is crucial to take action if you think the will is invalid or the estate is being handled improperly. You should weigh all your alternatives and seek the counsel of an expert solicitor before deciding to contest probate in the UK.
It’s also worth noting that in the UK, there is a costly and strict deadline for contesting a will. If you have reservations about a will, you must lodge a caveat with the Probate Registry. A grant of probate cannot be issued whilst a caveat is in place and there are procedures whereby an executor can remove the caveat which involve issuing ‘ a warning’, that the caveat is to be challenged. It is wiser to consult with a lawyer as soon as possible if you have any questions regarding a will either as an executor or a beneficiary or someone who feels that they have a legitimate interest in the estate.
If you are seeking advice on how to contest probate, contact our probate dispute solicitors in London online or by phone at 0208 769 6739 or complete the online form. We will respond promptly to your inquiry.