Sometimes, when a loved one dies, they don’t leave a will. This is down to a number of factors; usually if they were young at their time of death, or the death was sudden and unexpected so they did not have time to prepare. No matter the circumstances, it’s a difficult and emotional time for everyone involved. Probate disputes and inheritance claims can arise from such circumstances, as it can be hard to determine who should inherit the deceased’s estate. When disputes arise concerning trusts and estates, consider looking towards a civil litigation solicitor to help you settle your claim effectively.
Here at Van Eaton solicitors in Streatham, we have years of experience in dealing with inheritance and probate disputes in London and the surrounding areas. If the deceased has not left a will, there are certain rules in place to determine who will inherit the estate, but in some circumstances, the probate process can become contentious…
Who Can and Cannot Inherit the Estate?
When someone dies without leaving a valid will, the estate and property of the deceased must be distributed according to certain rules, known as the rules of intestacy. A person who dies without leaving a will is known as an intestate person. By law, the next of kin shall be the one to inherit the estate if there is no legal documentation, such as a will, that states otherwise. If a will has been made, but it is not valid, then intestacy rules will be out in place. An invalid will could have been made under undue influence, forged, plus other reasons which you can read about in our previous article here.
If the deceased was married, then the spouse will automatically be the beneficiary to the estate. If the person was cohabitating with a partner but they weren’t married, they have no automatic right to inherit anything. This can be challenged, however, but you must aim to stop a grant of probate being issued to the next of kin. If the deceased had an estate worth more than £270,000, was married but also had children or grandchildren, whether blood-related or adopted, the spouse will inherit the first £270,000 plus half of the remaining estate. The other half will go to the children. If there was no spouse, the children would inherit everything.
There are certain individuals that may believe they have a claim, but under intestacy rules, won’t be able to but are entitled to make a claim under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975. These include unmarried partners, close friends and carers. If the individual had no surviving relatives, the estate passes along to the crown. To read more about the intestacy rules when a deceased person does not leave a valid will, please read our previous article here. Probate disputes arise frequently in cases of intestacy, largely due to people who are not directly the next of kin making a claim…
Making a Claim Concerning Probate Disputes
If you are not a direct blood relative or spouse to the deceased, but you believe you have a claim to some or all of their estate, you must seek legal advice. Reasons for people making a claim can include but are not limited to unmarried partners believing they are entitled to some inheritance and claims made by someone who was treated like a child by the deceased. If you wish to make a claim under the Inheritance Act 1975, you can look towards the help of a probate dispute solicitor.
Here at Van Eaton solicitors in Streatham, we can help you assess your claim and gather the essential evidence needed to make your case much stronger. We can help solve your civil disputes by implementing alternative dispute resolution to avoid the case reaching court, saving you money on solicitors and court fees. If you would like to find out more about our services, or you would like to talk about your probate disputes in a consultation, you can fill out our online form here. Alternatively, you can give us a call on 0208 769 6739.