Inheritance disputes and contentious probate
Inheritance disputes often put significant strain on the parties involved no matter what the circumstances may be. Whether the dispute concerns the validity of a will, actions against Trustees, questionable lifetime gifts or any other matter relating to contentious wills and probate, the team at Smith Partnership offer the practical experience you need to ensure the estate is dealt with in a just and effective manner.
If you’re in need of legal expertise with regards to contentious probate, contact our team today.
What Is Contentious Probate?
Contentious probate refers to disputes that arise when administering the estate of a deceased loved one, and there can be many reasons why an estate’s beneficiaries might not see eye to eye. Some of the most common causes of contentious trusts and probate include:
- Disputes regarding the interpretation or validity of a will
- Trust disputes, for example regarding the interpretation or validity of a trust deed
- Disagreement on the way in which the person’s estate is to be distributed or administered
- Taking action through Court of Protection to protect the interests of someone who lacks the capacity to make a will
- Claims made under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975, for example to ensure the estate offers reasonable financial provision to a spouse, former spouse, child or dependant
- Questionable lifetime gifts
Disputes in relation to trusts and probate are on the rise, and the above list is by no means exhaustive. Although inheritance disputes may well see emotions running high, finding an effective legal resolution is often in the best interests of each of the parties involved.
Challenging or Defending a Will
Wills serve an incredibly important purpose by setting out a person’s wishes regarding the way in which their estate is to be distributed after they have passed. In some cases, however, there may be valid reasons for the will to be challenged. These include situations where:
- The will relates to a person who lacked the mental capacity to make an informed decision
- The deceased was unduly influenced when making the will (for example through coercion)
- The will is a result of forgery
- A disputed statutory will is in place, for example, if there are doubts on whether it reflects the wishes of the deceased person
- The contents of the will was not approved by the person it relates to
- The will does not provide reasonable financial provision as set out in the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975
Defending or challenging a will may seem like a complicated and stressful process, but our dedicated contentious trusts and probate team offers the legal expertise needed to fight your corner.
Drawing on many years’ worth of experience in this area, Department Head Jak Ward is proud to be a member of the Association of Contentious Trusts and Probate Specialists as well as being recommended by the Legal 500.
Problems with Estate Administration
Apart from disputes relating to a person’s Will, you may also have concerns about the way an estate is being conducted or administered. Our expertise covers a wide range of issues regarding estate administration, including:
- The removal or replacement of an Executor who has failed to correctly administer the estate
- Defending claims against Executors
- Disputes over deputyship
- Actions against Trustees
- Resolving disputes between Beneficiaries and Executors
- Professional negligence claims
If you’ve been affected by any of the issues listed above, or if you’ve been faced with any other problems associated with contentious estates, don’t hesitate to get in touch with our team today.
How Much Time Do I Have?
Time limits may apply depending on the circumstances of any probate claims you intend to make. If, for example, you wish to make a claim for reasonable financial provision in line with the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975, you will generally be subject to a time limit of 6 months starting from when the Letters of Administration or Grant of Probate was issued.
Regardless of the specific circumstances surrounding the contentious probate dispute, it’s advisable to take action as soon as possible. For this reason, the solicitors at Smith Partnership offer an accessible and comprehensive service tailored to your specific needs.
How We Can Help
Contentious probate cases can often be legally complex, so it’s important to seek expert legal advice if you’re involved in a probate dispute. Shouldering the burden and stress that comes with litigation is our main priority, and our experts are able to guide you through every stage of the process.
As one of the East Midlands’ leading law firms, with offices in Derby, Stoke-on-Trent, Leicester, Swadlincote and Burton Upon Trent, we pride ourselves on taking a straight-talking and client-oriented approach to each case. We seek to establish your objectives at the outset, and with that, we focus on plotting a clear and strategic plan of action specific to your case. In doing so, our clients enjoy peace of mind that they have a trusted and experienced legal specialist on their side whenever they need it most.