Contentious Probate

Losing a loved one is difficult enough, without becoming involved in a legal dispute over a Will or Estate. Unfortunately though, there are times when issues arise and it is important to get good advice as early as possible. At ORJ we have specialist solicitors who are experienced in helping either beneficiaries or executors through a dispute at what is a difficult time.

Wills can be challenged for all sorts of reasons but the main areas of dispute involve either disputing the amount a person receives under a Will or the validity of a Will itself.

Why am I not a beneficiary?

It can sometimes be a shock to relatives when they expected to be provided for in a person’s will and are not. This is especially true when somebody relied on financial help from the deceased prior to their death. Under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975 it is possible to apply to Court and challenge or create an entitlement under a Will.

Claims can be made by a spouse, civil partner or child of the deceased, as well as former partners or any other person who relied upon the deceased for financial help. Whether or not a person can claim and the level of a potential claim depends on the particular circumstances, which can often be complex. At ORJ we can advise you if there is a potential claim and how likely it would be to succeed. Having the benefit of our advice at an early stage will help you to understand your options and not miss the strict time limits for beginning a claim.

Challenging a Will

Sometimes there are real concerns about the Will itself. It is possible to challenge a Will if you believe that there is a valid reason for the Courts to become involved. Challenges to Wills can be made if;

  • The person making the Will was not mentally capable
  • The Will was not properly executed
  • The maker of the Will did not know or approve of its contents
  • There was undue influence on the person making the Will
  • A Will is a forgery or fraud.

At ORJ we can provide you with early advice on whether a challenge could or should be made to a Will. If there are grounds to make a challenge then we can guide you through that process.

Helping Executors

The executor of an estate is somebody that the deceased trusted to ensure that their wishes would be carried out after death. When a lay person agrees to act as an executor, they may not fully understand what is involved and the responsibilities of what can be a difficult role.

If there is not a dispute around a Will or Estate an executor will normally be guided by the solicitor acting in obtaining a Grant of Probate. However, if a dispute does arise an executor may need more specialist help. At ORJ our specialists are able to advise executors on how to deal with the dispute from an early stage, often resolving issues without going to court.

Executors who are also beneficiaries under a Will face a more difficult balancing act when a dispute arises. Advice from ORJ will help the executor to complete their legal obligations and reduce their exposure to personal financial risk.

For any enquiries or more information, please call us on 01785 223440 for a free initial consultation.