What is contentious probate?
What is contentious probate?
March 22, 2023

Contentious probate refers to any dispute relating to a deceased person’s estate. 

Cases of this matter are highly distressing, overwhelming and emotionally challenging; therefore, if you are looking to bring a dispute or need to defend one, you should do all you can to ensure that you are in the best possible position.

Whether you are an executor or a beneficiary, Bridge McFarland LLP’s experienced private client team can support you in bringing or defending a contentious probate matter by providing specialist and clear advice concerning all matters.

This article explores some of the most frequently asked questions surrounding contentious probate. Read on for more. 

Why might someone contest a Will?

Deciding to contest a Will can feel daunting, particularly at  an already emotional time. There are a variety of disputes that might arise, including:

  • Disputes over the interpretation of the Will
  • Disputes between executors
  • Disputes between beneficiaries
  • Disputes over the value of estate assets

Furthermore, a Will might be disputed because a person did not receive as much financial provision, or similar, as they expected to (if any). 

On what grounds can a Will be contested?

According to law, there are key grounds for a Will to be contested, and the reasoning for disputing a Will must fall into one of those key categories. The key grounds are as follows:

  • Lack of due execution
  • Lack of testamentary capacity
  • Lack of knowledge and approval
  • Undue influence
  • Forgery/fraud
  • Lack of “reasonable” financial provision for a family member or dependant

Some of these are more difficult to prove than others, so if you do wish to contest a Will, you should seek the advice of a trusted solicitor who will support you throughout the process. You can call Bridge McFarland today on 0800 987 8800 or email info@bmcf.co.uk

Who can make a financial claim against a Will?

In theory, anyone can challenge a Will. However, in most cases, only some people will benefit from the contentious probate process. Therefore, people who contest a Will are typically related to the deceased or are a beneficiary. 

It is possible to make a claim against a deceased person’s estate on the grounds that the Will did not make  ‘adequate financial provisions’ made in the deceased’s Will. Only some people are entitled to do so; these people include:

  • A child of the deceased
  • A spouse of the deceased
  • A civil partner of the deceased
  • An ex-spouse or ex-civil partner in cases whereby they have not remarried
  • A cohabiting partner
  • Anyone financially maintained by the deceased in the years leading to their death.

A claim made under these circumstances is outlined in The Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependents) Act 1975.

Finding a Solicitor for Contesting a Will

If you are seeking to contest a Will but do not fully understand your legal position, Bridge McFarland LLP’s experienced team can assist. We will take the time to carefully explain the entire process to you and ensure that we clarify if your case is worth pursuing. 

If we have reason to believe that your case is valid, we will support you throughout the process, ensuring that we answer your questions and make you feel at ease in this difficult time. 

For more information about our services or to speak to one of our friendly yet professional team, please call 0800 987 8800 or email info@bmcf.co.uk

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