Contentious Probate Solicitors

Whether you are an executor or a beneficiary, our expert contentious probate team at Summit Law LLP are able to assist and advise you when dealing with the administration of an estate becomes contested.

Losing a loved one is difficult; dealing with how their estate is distributed can make it even harder. If, for any reason, a dispute arises relating to the administration of a deceased person’s estate, we are able to seek the resolution of such disputes quickly and cost effectively. This is the case even if there is not a written Will.

We have the expertise to help you in any situation. Estates can be complicated when dealing with international aspects or multiple properties, wealth structures or trusts. By tailoring our advice accordingly, we are able to provide you with a tailor solution to meet your requirements.

What is contentious probate?

Contentious probate is an area of law under which beneficiaries, executors, trustees, individuals or organisations can seek to challenge the administration of a deceased’s estate.

How our contentious probate solicitors can help you

Contesting a Will

We can advise on the possible grounds for contesting a will as well as the appropriate steps that can be taken if you believe that a will made by a deceased person may not be valid.

Inheritance Act claims

We can advise on whether you could be potential applicant in a claim under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependents) Act 1975. A claim under this act is available in specific circumstances and asks the Court to consider whether ‘reasonable provision’ should be made for you from the Deceased’s estate. We are also able to provide advice to executors and or defendants who are subject to a claim under this act and provide advice on the possible outcomes and assist with all aspects of a claim from the outset to its conclusion.

Trust Disputes

We can advise trustees and beneficiaries in relation to a dispute over a trust from advising on the implications of the trust, its validity, through to how the trust is managed and or distributed. 

Executor, Deputyship and Attorney Disputes

We can assist executors, appointed deputies and attorney in explaining to them their responsibilities and provide advice in the event of a dispute relating to their authority. We can also assist beneficiaries who require assistance and advice in respect of the appointment and removal of executors/deputies/attorneys.

The interpretation of the Will

We regularly advise both executors, beneficiaries and parties not included in a will on the contents of a will and help dissect its terms in a format they understand

Disagreements between Beneficiaries

We are able to assist when disagreements arise between beneficiaries and help them and the executors resolve the issues as quickly as possible either through court proceedings or the appropriate form of alternative dispute resolution.

Under what grounds can you contest a will?

A will can be contested if the following grounds can be satisfied:

  1. The will itself is invalid due to its execution;
  2. The will was made by someone who did not have testamentary capacity to make a will;
  3. The person who made the will did not understand the contents of the will when it was made;
  4. The creator of the will was unduly influenced into making the will.

What happens when a will is contested?

If you wish to contest the validity and or the contents of a will, if a grant of probate has not been issued, a caveat can be lodged with the probate registry to prevent a grant being issued. A caveat grants the applicant a 6 month period whereby a grant cannot be obtained whilst the applicant seeks advice on the grounds to contest the will. A caveat can be renewed continuously until such time as it is withdrawn and or the probate registry order than an application is to be made to Court to resolve the matter.

Once a caveat is in place (if no grant is issued) or if a grant has already been issued for the Deceased’s estate to be administered we can advise on the merits of a claim in respect of all contentious probate claims (including contesting a will) and explain the procedure, the likely costs involved and help guide you through the process from the outset to its conclusion.

Who pays legal fees when a will is contested?

This is dependent on whether you bring a contentious probate claim as an Executor/beneficiary and or an individual under an Inheritance Act Claim. As an executor, you can apply to the Court for permission to bring/defend proceedings with your legal costs being bourne by the Deceased’s estate. As a beneficiary, subject to the contentious probate claim, you would usually be subject to the usual costs provisions i.e. the successful party seeks its costs from the unsuccessful party. Each case is unique and our team of solicitors would be able to explain the cost implications for you.

What are the time limits for contentious probate?

The main time limit to be aware of is 6 months from the grant of probate in respect of bringing a claim under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependents) Act 1975.

Why choose Summit Law LLP for contentious probate?

Summit Law has an expert team of solicitors with a wealth of experience in dealing with all issues involving contentious probate disputes. Our team specialise in this area of law and are regularly updating their experience and knowledge with developing case law.

Get in touch with our contentious probate solicitors in London

Our specialist team is available for an initial consultation by contacting Liam Stein or Nick Davies at a time to suit you.