We have worked with clients in the London area (and across England and Wales) for a number of years to assist with many contentious probate disputes. While we are unable to cite specific examples due to confidentiality, we’re going to share a possible example which may be familiar to those who visit our site in need of help. If you are facing any kind of will dispute, please get in touch.
An inheritance dispute could concern an empty house or other property. If a challenge was raised against the application for a ‘grant of probate’ by a deceased lady’s son for example, because he had been suddenly written out of a Will, he could seek to contest this against the new benefactor to prevent them or their agents from acting as executor of the estate.
The ‘sudden’ nature of the change is likely to alarm potential benefactors. Unannounced changes are particularly vulnerable to challenges, so we always recommend that anyone creating a Will has a full discussion with family members, rather than surprise them with new information when they pass away.
Unfortunately, in this dispute example, there is a risk that were the property to be sold, a purchaser could be open to a claim of ownership from the son. Matters of trust, estate, probate claims and estate disputes are open to a range of complications – and it is vital that you are supported by a solicitor with experience in all forms of probate or trust disputes.
Whether you are considering making a claim, or suspect that you or a loved one may be subject to a claim under an inheritance provision, we’re here to support you. It can be an incredibly stressful time when arranging or executing a Will and trying to ensure that there is a proper inheritance provision for family or other loved ones.
Why would a Will be challenged?
There are regular cases where someone decides to dispute the validity of a Will. It’s possible that they feel a Will was written under duress, or that someone placed undue influence on the person making the Will, or even that the person writing the Will did not have sufficient mental capacity to do so at the time.
When applicable, we are able to assist with claims where there is no Will at all.
Our duty as contentious probate solicitors is to ensure that assets go to the right person as intended by the person who passed away.
We have, in the past been engaged by private clients who are worried about their inheritance, and suspect that a loved one has been unduly pressured or influenced into passing their assets to someone they would otherwise not have chosen. This is where arguments around mental capacity or undue influence could be made. If a person was found not to be acting in a completely independent and lucid manner, then a Will is open to challenge.
If a person doesn’t have the correct ‘testamentary capacity’ then they cannot create a legally enforceable Will and could be considered ‘intestate’ – in that no valid will exists, so assets are likely to be passed in line with rules of intestacy instead.
In such a case, an application to a court of protection should be made, and it would be advisable to engage a legal representative who can put their experience to work on your behalf.
We can help
At Van Eaton Solicitors LLP (Limited Liability Partnership), we hold ourselves to the highest professional standards and are experienced in dealing in all aspects of probate law. Our law firm is registered in England and Wales – and is governed by the solicitors’ regulation authority, so you can be confident that we will provide the right level of care and attention to you case when acting on your behalf.
We also liaise with trust companies on clients’ behalf when necessary. We are here to achieve positive outcomes for our clients in all circumstances.
If you feel we could help you, please contact us below for initial legal advice.
Principal, Van Eaton Solicitors.
Jo Walia is an experienced Civil Litigation, Wills & Probate specialist that serves clients across England and Wales. You can request a no-obligation consultation by getting in touch using the form below.