Disputes over inheritances and the way estates are administered following a death can quickly become very complicated, both legally and in terms of the human cost on relationships and individuals’ financial security. However, seeking early advice from an expert in contentious probate can make all the difference.
Drawing on many years of expertise and specialist skills from across the firm, the team at Huggins Lewis Foskett can provide sensible, practical advice on how to resolve inheritance disputes the right way for your situation.
In many cases, it is possible to deal with contentious probate matters amicably through a negotiated settlement. However, in other situations, court proceedings may be the only option to ensure your rights are protected. In either eventuality, our team has the experience and skills to expertly advise and represent you.
Our contentious probate solicitors can help with all types of inheritance disputes, including:
- Will disputes
- Inheritance Act claims
- Disputes with executors and estate administrators
- Fatal accident claims
We offer tailored advice to those bringing and defending claims, using our experience to ensure all angles are fully considered, and we find creative solutions that other firms might have missed.
Speak to Michael Legister, a Partner who is experienced in this area of law and would be happy to discuss your case and can offer an initial no-fee consultation. Contact Michael now by calling 0208 989 3000 or using our simple contact form to request a call-back.
Why choose Huggins Lewis Foskett for help with your inheritance dispute?
Partner Simon Huggins heads our Wills, Estate Administration and Vulnerable Client department and is an expert in contentious probate matters. Simon is also supported by a very able team and our in-house litigation experts as required.
Our team understand that inheritance disputes are personal as much as they are about the assets involved. We take a sensitive approach to these emotionally charged issues, while always being honest and straightforward with our advice.
Wherever possible, we will seek an amicable solution that secures a fair outcome and preserves important relationships. However, where the situation requires, we have the experience, expertise and no-nonsense approach needed to robustly represent you in court proceedings.
Contentious probate explained
What grounds are there for contesting a Will?
There are various reasons you can potentially challenge a Will, including where you believe:
- The deceased lacked the mental capacity to make a proper Will
- There is a more up-to-date Will that should be used instead
- The Will was not properly executed (e.g. it was not correctly witnessed)
- The deceased did not have a proper knowledge or understanding of the contents of the Will
- The deceased was unduly influenced by one or more parties when making their Will
- The deceased did not understand the effects of leaving someone out of their Will
- The Will does not reflect the deceased’s instructions due to errors made on the part of the person who drafted the Will
- You were a dependant on the deceased, and their Will does not make reasonable provision for you
- The deceased promised you a bequest which you relied on to your detriment
- The deceased owed you money
Understanding when these different reasons may apply to your circumstances and proving them can be complicated, so it is important to seek specialist advice at the earliest opportunity.
Can you stop probate?
Yes, you can temporarily halt the grant of probate by entering a caveat at the Probate Registry. This prevents probate from being granted for six months and can be renewed indefinitely, although other parties can challenge the caveat, so you would need to be prepared to defend your reasons for wanting probate paused.
Can you claim against an estate where there was no Will?
If you were a dependant of the deceased, you might be able to make a claim for ‘reasonable provision’ from an intestate estate (i.e. where there is no Will) under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975. This is known as an ‘Inheritance Act claim’.
Whether you qualify as a dependant will depend on the situation, and inheritance Act claims are complex, so specialist advice is a must.
What can you do if probate is taking too long?
There is no set time limit for probate to be completed; however, if you believe the executor of the estate is unreasonably delaying the administration of an estate, you can potentially have them removed and replaced with an independent professional.
If you are concerned that probate is taking too long, please contact our team, and we can advise you on your options.
Can you have the executor of an estate removed?
Yes, you can apply to a court to have the executor of an estate removed if you believe they are not carrying out their role properly. However, in most cases, disputes with executors can be resolved amicably with the right expert support, meaning this is rarely necessary.
Reasons you can potentially have the person administering an estate removed include where you believe they are:
- Unreasonably delaying probate
- Failing to make bequests included in a Will
- Purposely disposing of assets from the estate (such as the deceased’s home) at below their market value
- Failing to keep proper estate accounts
- Claiming unreasonable expenses from the estate assets
Our contentious probate fees
Transparency and value for money are critical when it comes to the cost of dealing with inheritance disputes.
We will always be upfront about our fees and the likely costs involved in different approaches to dealing with a dispute. This gives you the opportunity to make a sensible decision about how you want to proceed and the value of the possible outcome versus the cost of taking action.
For an indication of our costs, please take a look at our hourly rates.
Wondering how to pay for our legal services? See the options for funding your case.
Our contentious probate team
Speak to our contentious probate solicitors in South Woodford, London, today
Need clear, sensible guidance on resolving an inheritance dispute?