Disputed Wills & Inheritance Claims

If you want to contest a will or make a claim then it is important that you seek expert legal advice to guide you through this complex area of law.

Meet the Estate/Probate Team

Richard Bagguley

Jan Copestake

Oliva Hodgson

...your invaluable assistance helped me retain my sanity going through my first experience of closing a relative’s estate...
Mr H of Cambridge

Losing a loved one is one of the most difficult experiences that we face in life. Amidst addressing the grief, practical matters need to be dealt with and in most cases this means dealing with your loved one’s wishes which they may have recorded in a Will and/or administering their estate.

Whilst it may be difficult for many of us to comprehend or understand, disputes with other family members may arise, as a result of the deceased’s wishes in respect of their estate.

There are several different reasons why you may find yourself in this position and below are some examples of why such disputes can occur:-

Challenging a Will

There are a number of reasons why a will may be challenged, for example :-

Testamentary capacity – a beneficiary or someone who believed they should be a beneficiary may believe that the deceased was not mentally capable of giving instructions at the time that the will was made;

Lack of valid execution – a will that has not been prepared by a solicitor may be alleged to be invalid if it was not properly written and signed as required by the law;

Lack of knowledge and approval – there may be suspicion that the deceased was not aware of either the meaning or the contents of the will;

Undue influence – there may be suspicion that the deceased was in some way forced or coerced into making the will and that without such pressure or coersion the will would have been written differently;

There are various other grounds upon which a Will could be legally challenged. If you believe that the Will of your friend or relative is in someway incorrect or out of character you may wish to obtain legal advice to ascertain whether there are grounds for challenging the will.

At Baines Bagguley Penhale we regularly advise clients in relation to their concerns arising out of the will of friends or family members using our Fixed Fee Initial Meeting. Please contact us to arrange an appointment.

Making a claim against someones estate

Where a family member or someone connected with a person who has passed away has been excluded from a will it may be possible for them to make a claim against the estate for a financial settlement. These types of claim arise where financial provision has not been made for those who may require it namely family members and those who had been financially dependent upon the deceased.

You could be eligible to make an Inheritance Act claim if you were:

  • The spouse/civil partner of the deceased
  • The former spouse/civil partner of the deceased who has not remarried or entered into a further civil partnership
  • Living with the deceased for at least two years prior to their death
  • The deceased’s child (which includes an adult child)
  • Treated as the deceased’s ‘child’ (for example, but not necessarily, adopted, fostered or a step-child) or
  • Being “maintained” by the deceased

This area of the law is quite complex, and the possible value of the claim will depend on the particular circumstances of the relationship between the person claiming and the person who has passed away. There are also strict time limits within which any proposed claim and be made.

Whilst it may be difficult for many of us to comprehend or understand, disputes with other family members may arise, as a result of the deceased’s wishes in respect of their estate.

Taking clear legal advice at the outset can avoid incurring significant costs and help you to make an informed decision in relation to pursuing a potential claim.

Responding to claims or challenges

When dealing with the estate of someone who has passed away it can be very upsetting to receive an indication that someone wishes to challenge the will or make a claim.

We regularly assist clients in reviewing and responding to such claims or challenges. Not all claims or challenges are valid and reviewing any such indication with an experienced legal advisor can avoid costs and further upset.

Whether you are a beneficiary or an executor we can support and guide you through any necessary legal process to achieve the best possible outcome for all parties involved.

How can we help ?

There can be many reasons why a will may be challenged or a claim made against a deceased persons estate. At BBP we understand that dealing with these issues at such a difficult time can be stressful and upsetting.

We aim to provide our clients with support and work together with them to try and resolve matters to their satisfaction whilst causing them as little distress and disruption as possible.

We regularly assist clients by providing initial advice within a Fixed Fee meeting. Our fee for this service is £160 inclusive of VAT which includes 45 minutes of face to face advice. We are also able to offer a full written report of our advice for an additional fee of £30 inclusive of VAT.

For further information or to arrange an appointment please contact us.

 

 

Meet the Estate/Probate Team

Richard Bagguley

Jan Copestake

Oliva Hodgson

...I want to say thank you for dealing with M...’s estate. You have been so kind and sensitive....
Mrs B of Heysham