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The death of a loved one is always a distressing time. Even if the deceased has put a will in place, problems can arise that can make the grieving process even more difficult and emotional. By their very nature, will disputes of this type can involve sensitive issues and can be extremely upsetting to those involved.

Gorvins Solicitors are proud to have one of the UK’s leading will disputes and contentious probate practices. Our extensive experience of dealing with all types of contentious probate, will disputes and estate disputes means you get the best guidance and representation for your requirements.

Call one of the team today on 0161 930 5151 or e-mail willdisputeteam@gorvins.com to talk in confidence about a will dispute or claim against an estate.

Gorvins’ approach to will disputes and contentious probate

If you are contesting a will or you are an executor and a family member or friend is disputing the will, you need to have confidence that a professional expert will advise on the best course of action to take.

Gorvins have one of the most experienced and highly specialised contentious probate teams in the UK and can help you with:

In any of these situations, it’s important that you seek specialist legal advice as soon as possible. There are strict time limits on contesting a will and making claims against an estate, so time is of the essence.

Contesting a Will or defending a claim can be stressful. We’ll always look to make the process as simple and clear as possible for you, offering advice in plain English.

We’ll also try and keep the dispute out of court where possible by using mediators. This is less stressful, less costly and quicker, with most mediated cases being resolved within 6-9 months.

How can our inheritance dispute solicitors help?

We want to make things as convenient and stress-free for you as possible. Call the wills and estate disputes team on 0161 930 5151, e-mail willdisputeteam@gorvins.com or fill in our enquiry form to talk about a will dispute.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long do I have to contest a Will?

A will can be challenged at any point and there is no specific time limit for doing so. We would always recommend you seek legal advice and act quickly in relation to such matters and notify the estate that you intend to challenge the will. If the matter is left too long, there’s a risk that the estate could be distributed before you’ve made a challenge. It’s best practice to often challenge the validity of a will before the Grant of Probate has been obtained.

If it’s necessary for you to bring a claim under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975, this must be done within 6 months from the Grant of Probate.

Can I challenge a Will – who can do this?

In essence, anyone can challenge the validity of a will. However, we would normally expect this to be done by someone who had an interest in the outcome or an interest in the estate under a former will and that they want the court to recognise the earlier will and not the later one that has replaced it.

My partner of 10 years has died without leaving a Will. Can I bring a claim?

You’re entitled to investigate bringing a claim under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975. This act identifies specific people who can bring a claim if they do not stand to benefit under a deceased’s will or under the laws of intestacy. As someone who has been living as husband and wife for the 2 years prior to the deceased’s death, you are a person who is entitled to consider bringing a claim. After that, other specific requirements will be required by the court. After making a claim, the court would take into account your considerations in determining whether or not you should receive anything from the estate.

Other people who can bring a claim include children (including children who have been treated as a child of the deceased and even adult children), a surviving spouse or civil partner and any person who was being maintained by the deceased before their death.

When should I challenge a Will?

If you wish to challenge the validity of a will, you should do it as soon as possible and before the Grant of Probate is obtained. You should prevent the Grant of Probate from being obtained by filing what is called a caveat at the probate registry. This stops the deceased’s estate and the people dealing with it from obtaining a grant.

If pursuing a claim under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975, this is usually commenced once the Grant of Probate has been obtained.

My parent was ill with dementia when she executed her will not long before she died. Can I challenge this?

Firstly, we would check that the will was validly executed because if it was not, it would not take effect. The law is quite clear about the steps that need to be taken to validly execute a will.

If it was, we would look at the circumstances of the will being prepared and if it was done by a solicitor, we would invite the solicitor to give their comments on how they came to receive their instructions and any concerns that they may have had about the capacity of the testator. It may also be necessary to obtain your mum’s medical records.

As you can imagine these matters are all very fact-specific and vary greatly from matter to matter. We would therefore need to look at the whole matter and advise you on whether a valid challenge can be made.

My parent has written a Letter of Wishes explaining why he has not left me as much as my sibling in his will. Does this prevent me from bringing a claim?

A Letter of Wishes is not legally binding but is there to guide the executors of the will as to why the testator has made certain decisions in their will that may be found to be unusual or where, for example, they have treated siblings differently. However, the letter is not binding and does not prevent you from bringing a challenge to the will provided you have good grounds to do so or are entitled to do so under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act.

Why did I not benefit under my late fathers Will?

Regrettably, it is a sad fact that people forget to make/renew their Wills and key people who ought to benefit from the estate do not.

Unfortunately, without a Will, the primary position is that the new wife is automatically entitled to everything as your father’s next of kin. Depending on the relationship that you have with the new wife it may be that you can agree amicably between you, that you will both take a share of your father’s estate.

If you cannot agree, then as a child you can consider applying to the Court under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependents) Act 1975. A “child” also includes illegitimate, unborn, adult and adopted children. The Inheritance Act allows the Courts to consider whether reasonable financial provision should be made to you where a Will/intestacy (dying without having made a Will) fails to do so.

Depending on the circumstances of your matter there are certain factors that the Court will take into account including, but not limited to, the financial needs of you and the new wife, your age and the size of the estate.

If an application is going to be made you must do so within six months of the grant of probate/letters of administration so although this may be a distressing time you must act quickly.

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Meet the Will & Estate Disputes team

  • Danielle Clements

    Partner
    Dispute Resolution

    View profile
  • Michael Smoult

    Partner & Head of Wills, Trusts & Probate
    Wills, Trusts & Probate

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What Will & Estate Disputes services do we offer

  • Challenging or Contesting a Will

    Anyone can leave their money and belongings to whom they wish in their Will, but on occasion disputes do arise over...

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  • Claims against property or assets

    When someone dies the process of probate assesses what a person owns and what they have left in their Will to...

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  • Fraudulent Wills

    It is unusual but it can sometimes be the case that a fraudulent Will has been created...

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  • Invalid Wills Involving Mental Capacity

    Sadly, there are an increasing number of elderly people developing dementia, and people who are unable to make...

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  • Invalid Wills involving undue influence by others

    As people’s assets have become more and more valuable over the years there has been a rise in Wills being contested...

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  • Lost Wills

    When someone dies, you need to locate a copy of the latest Will. This can be difficult as people often don’t like...

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  • Negligently drafted Wills

    When a loved one dies it is a difficult time but when there are problems with the Will this can be even more...

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  • Inheritance Act Claims

    Family relationships are increasingly complicated and you may feel that you have wrongly been left out of a Will...

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  • Problems with Executors or Trustees

    Estate and Trust administration can take a long time. If there is a dispute it can take years rather than weeks and...

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  • Trust Disputes

    Handling trust disputes involving individuals, corporate trustees, charities and beneficiaries is a highly complex...

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News

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Blog

The Fact-Specific Nature of the Inheritance Act - A Gorvins Case Study

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