The ‘Statute of Limitations’ is a phrase often heard in American crime dramas and other TV shows and films. However, this does not apply to criminal offences in the UK, but there are still different limitation periods applicable in civil law. When it comes to will and probate disputes, there are certain timescales that you must adhere to if you are wishing to make a claim. If you would like to make a claim against a deceased person’s estate, but you are not sure if you are too late, our probate solicitors are here to help.
Here at Van Eaton Solicitors in Streatham, we have years of experience in helping our clients settle their probate disputes effectively. Our specialist probate services ensure all avenues have been explored, avoiding court wherever possible by implementing alternative dispute resolution. There are various aspects of wills and inheritance that can become contentious, but how long do you have to make a claim?
Obtaining and Contesting a Grant of Probate
In order to distribute the contents of a will, a grant of probate must be obtained before the executors and beneficiaries can start adhering to the deceased’s wishes. However, claims against the distribution of the estate can arise, and opposing parties may wish to stop the grant of probate from being issued. Once you apply for a grant of probate, it takes between three and six months for the paperwork to be granted from the Probate Registry. In this time, disputes from other parties can still occur.
Each case is different, but most cases offer a time period of six months from the date that the grant of probate has been issued. It is best to gather evidence as soon as possible, but the six months can be extended if legal proceedings are still occurring. This is known as a ‘caveat,’ which you can find out more about here. Our probate solicitors in London can help you bring a claim or defend against one, helping you gather the necessary evidence needed to make your claim airtight.
Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975 Claims
If you were closely related to the deceased, or you were dependant on them financially, you can make a claim against their estate if you were left out of the will and you should have been left with reasonable financial provisions. Not everyone will be successful in making this claim, but if you have any reason to believe that you are entitled to some of the estate, you should seek legal advice as soon as possible. There are time limits, however, on when legal proceedings should take place and when you can make a claim.
If you wish to make a claim under the Inheritance Act, you should wait no longer than six months after the grant of probate was issued. This only applies if there is a will present. If the person died intestate (without a will), a claim must be brought within six months of the Grant of Letters of Administration being issued.
Section 22 of the Limitation Act (1980)
The Limitation Act states the various different timescales that apply to certain cases. From contractual disputes to disagreements over land and other commercial claims, limitations periods will be presented here. For instance, the time limit for contractual claims is six years, allowing claimants time to identify whether they have a claim to uphold and letting them gather evidence. Section 22 applies to claims that can be made against a deceased person’s estate, and grants an expiration date “of twelve years from the date on which the right to receive the share or interest accrued.” You can find out more here.
At Van Eaton Solicitors in Streatham, our expert probate solicitors can help you throughout your case, providing compassion and professional legal knowledge to help you win your case efficiently and effectively. To find out more, or to book a free consultation, please give us a call on 0208 769 6739. Alternatively, you can fill out our online form here.