Inheritance Disputes & Contentious Probate
Disputes over an inheritance, the contents of a Will or any part of the probate process can be particularly challenging to resolve, with the potential to cause long-term damage to important family relationships. Having the right legal advice and support from the outset are therefore essential.
Any dispute that arises over a person’s Will or estate after they die is known as ‘contentious probate’.
Tayntons’ inheritance disputes and contentious probate solicitors, based in Gloucester, provide a sensitive, practical approach to resolving these matters with a strong focus on defusing conflict and achieving outcomes that work for everyone.
We understand how painful it can be to lose a loved one, and how frustrating and distressing it is when a dispute arises in the wake of their death. Wherever possible, we will seek to keep your dispute out of court through the use of alternative dispute resolution such as mediation or negotiation. However, our concern will always be to make sure that your rights are protected, so no matter how the dispute progresses, we will ensure we provide the support and guidance you need to secure the right outcome for you and your loved ones.
Speak to our highly experienced Will and inheritance dispute solicitors in Gloucester
We offer a 45-minute initial consultation with our Gloucester solicitors to discuss the outline of your inheritance dispute, your options and next steps for £150 plus VAT (£180.00). Our fees are payable to your solicitor at the start of your meeting.
There are strict time limits for some types of claims, so you should not delay in seeking advice about your position.
Our inheritance dispute resolution services
Depending on the circumstances, we can offer various methods to help resolve an inheritance dispute or contentious probate issues. Our expertise covers:
- Disputes over the interpretation of a Will
- Will disputes, including:
- Concerns about whether the deceased was of sound mind when they made the Will
- Allegations that the Will was not properly executed (i.e. it was not signed and/or witnessed properly)
- Undue influence or coercion
- Fraud or forgery
- Disputes over the value of the estate
- Inheritance disputes and Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants Act) 1975 claims
- Intestacy disputes where the deceased died without leaving a valid Will
- Disputes between executors, administrators and/or beneficiaries, including removing and replacing executors and administrators
- Disputes over farming, farmland and rural and agricultural property
Non-confrontational dispute resolution for inheritance disputes
In the first instance, we will usually try to find an amicable solution to the dispute through alternative dispute resolution. This avoids the need for court action and prevent the dispute from damaging important family relationships. It is also usually the fastest and least expensive way to deal with inheritance disputes and contentious probate.
Court action for inheritance disputes
If you cannot agree on a solution amicably, we can issue court proceedings to resolve the matter. Where this is required, we will ensure you have the very best possible representation to ensure your case is effectively presented and all relevant factors are considered to help achieve a fair outcome.
Why choose Tayntons for inheritance disputes & contentious probate?
Tayntons’ inheritance dispute resolution and contentious probate solicitors offer sensitive, practical advice and support for individuals and families in Gloucester and throughout Gloucestershire, including Cheltenham and the Forest of Dean.
We are highly experienced in alternative Dispute Resolution, meaning that no matter how complicated your dispute, we have the best chance of helping you find a way through it that minimises any negative impact on your family.
Tayntons has achieved Lexcel accreditation from the Law Society, recognising the strength of our practice management and client care. We are independently regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) providing assurance that we continually meet the highest legal and professional standards.
Contentious probate FAQs
On what grounds can you challenge a Will?
The main reasons you may want to contest a Will include:
- If you believe the Will is invalid, for example, because it was not properly executed or because the testator (the person who made the Will) had an illness such as dementia at the time that affected their ability to make a Will
- If you have been left out of someone’s Will or not left as much as you need, you may be able to make a claim for ‘reasonable financial provision’ under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependents) Act 1975
- If you believe that the Will does not reflect the deceased’s true wishes
What makes a Will invalid?
To be legally valid, a Will must fulfil certain legal requirements, including:
- The testator must be age 18 or over
- They must make the Will voluntarily (and not be influenced, pressured or coerced into making it)
- They must be of sound mind (referred to as ‘testamentary capacity’)
- The Will must be:
- In writing
- Signed by the testator in the presence of two witnesses
- Signed by the witnesses in the presence of the testator
If the Will does not meet one or more of these requirements, it is possible to challenge it. The result may be that parts of the Will or the whole Will are set aside and ignored, or it may be rectified to address any errors.
Can you sue for being left out of a Will?
If you have been left out of a Will, you may be able to make a claim under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975. You may also be able to make an Inheritance Act claim if you:
- Have not been left as much as you need in a Will
- Been passed over because the deceased died without leaving a valid Will
Inheritance Act claims are very complex and difficult to make. Only certain people, including the deceased’s partner or child, can make a claim and it is not enough to simply show that you have been left out of the Will. The court will take into account all the circumstances and have the power to award ‘reasonable financial provision’.
We can provide simple, practical advice about making or defending an Inheritance Act claim.
Can you make an inheritance claim if the deceased died intestate?
Yes, when a person dies intestate, their estate is dealt with under the Rules of Intestacy and you can make a claim against the estate as if it were being dealt with under a Will.
What are the time limits for making an Inheritance Act claim or contesting a Will?
The time limits for making your claim vary depending on the type of claim you want to make.
Typically, you have six months from the grant of probate or grant of letters of administration to make an Inheritance Act claim or contest the Will. If you miss the deadline, the court can grant permission to make a claim, but only in very limited circumstances. Therefore, it is important to seek legal advice as soon as possible to get the ball rolling.
However, beneficiaries looking to make a claim against a Will typically have 12 years from the date of death.
What can you do if the executor is mismanaging the estate administration?
If you believe that an executor or administrator is failing to administer the estate properly, it is possible to bring a court claim to have them removed and/or replaced.
Grounds for having an executor or administrator removed can include:
- Causing excessive delays
- Spending estate monies inappropriately
- Failing to protect estate property
- Incorrectly distributing inheritance
Will you have to go to court?
The prospect of going to court to challenge or defend a deceased loved ones’ estate can be extremely stressful. Where family are concerned, disputes can often spiral out of control, causing irreparable damage to relationships and racking up huge costs.
However, with the right legal advice, it’s common for Will and inheritance disputes to be settled out-of-court, sometimes using Alternative Dispute Resolution methods, such as mediation.
Making an out-of-court agreement tends to be significantly more cost-effective than going to court, as well as being faster and easier. However, we will always provide advice that suits you in your individual circumstances, including taking your case to court if necessary.
Get in touch with our inheritance dispute resolution and contentious probate solicitors in Gloucester
Our Dispute Resolution department remains open and active. All of our staff are ready and equipped to work remotely. Appointments for existing and new clients’ can take place via telephone conference (or in some cases video link.)
For those with listed Court hearings – At present, the Courts remain open, though most hearings will take place by telephone. We will contact you directly in the run-up to your hearing to discuss the logistics.
Need help resolving an inheritance dispute or handling any aspect of contentious probate in Gloucester, Cheltenham, the Forest of Dean or anywhere in Gloucestershire? Speak to one of our inheritance disputes and contentious probate solicitors by calling 0800 158 4147 or request a call back and a member of our team will be in touch promptly.