Arguments over the estate of someone who has passed away are, sadly, all too common. These disagreements can have a very negative impact on the family and other loved ones of the deceased, with the potential to be very distressing, time-consuming and expensive to resolve. There is also the risk of permanent damage to important family relationships if inheritance disputes are not resolved the right way.
hpjv’s highly experienced contentious probate solicitors in Newport can offer clear, practical advice and representation to help unpick even the most complex probate disputes.
With strong skills in Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) we can typically resolve inheritance and probate disputes without the need for court action, saving you time, money and stress.
If you need help with contesting a Will or challenging how probate is being handled, or you are an Executor or Estate Administrator dealing with such a challenge, please get in touch with our friendly, expert team for a free consultation.
Speak to one of our expert contentious probate solicitors in Newport today by calling 01633 242 526 or use the contact form on the right to ask a question.
How we can help you with contentious probate
Our contentious probate lawyers support people with all types of conflicts related to probate and inheritance in Newport and across South East Wales.
Challenging the validity of a Will
If you believe that the Will being used is invalid, you can potentially have the Will disregarded, allowing an earlier Will to be used or for inheritance to be decided under the rules of intestacy (which favour spouses, civil partners, children and other close relatives of the deceased).
What are the grounds for contesting a Will?
There are various potential reasons for challenging the validity of a Will, including:
- The deceased was not “of sound mind” when they created the Will
- The deceased did not understand the contents of the Will before signing
- The deceased was under “undue influence” to sign the Will
- The Will was not properly witnessed
- The Will is fraudulent
Is there a time limit for challenging a Will?
This will depend on the circumstances, but there is usually no time limit for challenging a Will on the grounds of fraud.
If you have concerns over how an Executor or Estate Administrator is dealing with probate, you may be able to have them removed and replaced, usually with a professional Executor, such as a solicitor.
What are the grounds for removing an Executor or Estate Administrator?
You may be able to have the Executor/Estate Administrator removed and replaced if you can show that they are not acting in the best interests of the beneficiaries of the estate. Examples of this might include:
- If they are spending money from the estate inappropriately
- If they are failing to move the probate process forward at a reasonable pace
- If they are unable to produce proper estate accounts on request
Is there a time limit for contesting probate?
If you believe the Executor/Estate Administrator has acted inappropriately during probate, you may be able to bring a financial claim against them for any losses you suffered as a result for up to 6 years from the date of any alleged issues.
Inheritance Act Claims
If you have been excluded from a Will or feel the amount you have been left is not reasonable, you may be able to make a claim under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975, commonly referred to as ‘the Inheritance Act’.
This allows you to attempt to claim ‘reasonable provision’ from the deceased’s estate, even if this was not included in their Will or where there was no Will. What constitutes reasonable provision will depend on the circumstances, but the idea is to account for financial and other types of support that you would usually have received from the deceased if they were still alive.
Who can make an Inheritance Act claim?
To make an Inheritance Act claim you will usually need to be the deceased’s:
- Spouse or civil partner
- Child who is still in education
- Other dependant
How long do you have to make an Inheritance Act claim?
Inheritance Act claims will normally need to be brought within 6 months of probate being granted, although claims may sometimes be allowed outside of this time limit under exceptional circumstances.
Common questions about Wills, inheritance and probate disputes
Can you prevent grant of probate?
If probate has not yet been granted, you can stop this from happening by entering a ‘caveat’ at any Probate Registry. This prevents grant of probate for the next 6 months, unless the person who entered the caveat withdraws it. The caveat can be renewed indefinitely, meaning grant of probate can be prevented for as long as you require.
How long after probate can funds be distributed in the UK?
While there is no time limit for probate to be completed and funds distributed, it is normal for this to take around 9-12 months. However, for more complex or high value estates, it can take much longer.
One time limit that does exist is for paying Inheritance Tax (IHT). The IHT form for an estate must be submitted and any taxes due paid in full within 6 months of the deceased’s date of death.
Can an Executor contest a Will?
You cannot contest a Will while also acting as the Executor of the Will as this creates a conflict of interest. If you have been named as the Executor and wish to challenge the Will, you should formally renounce the role before you take any actions involved in the administration of the estate. You should then be free to move forward with contesting the Will.
Can you contest a Will after probate?
It is usually a good idea to launch a challenge to a Will before probate is granted, as this prevents any money being spent from the estate or assets being distributed before the matter is resolved.
However, you can still challenge a Will after probate has been granted and even after probate is complete and the bequests have been made (in some circumstances).
Our expertise in handling contentious probate
Our Wills and Probate team in Newport have strong experience with the full range of contentious probate matters, with a strong track record of securing positive outcomes for our clients under challenging circumstances.
We regularly advise Executors, beneficiaries and those who have been excluded from Wills, using a variety of methods, including Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) to find a solution that works for you.
Our skills in ADR can be particularly beneficial for inheritance and probate disputes, as there is always the danger that the legal fees associated with protracted court action can end up swallowing a significant portion of the estate’s value.
However, we also have strong experience with court proceedings, so no matter what approach is needed, we can provide the skilled support and representation needed to protect your rights.
hpjv solicitors is Lexcel accredited by the Law Society for the strength of our practice management and client care. We are independently regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA).
Speak to our contentious probate solicitors in Newport and Chepstow today
If you are struggling with a dispute over a Will, probate or any other inheritance issues, we can help. Contact our solicitors in Newport or Chepstow today for an informal, no-obligation, chat or to arrange a Free First Consultation.