Inheritance will disputes FAQs

    Inheritance will disputes FAQs

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    Inheritance will disputes FAQs

    Disputing a will can be both confusing and complex, but specialist contentious probate solicitors, Judkins, have years of experience successfully supporting individuals through a range of disputes including wills, inheritance, trusts, and probate. So what can you do if you have been left out of a will? Read our FAQs for a full run-down of commonly asked questions.

    I have been left out of a will – what can I do?

    A will can only be contested after the person who made the will has died. There are several grounds upon which a will can be challenged. These are:

    • A lack of mental capacity of the testator (person who made the will) when the will was written
    • Any undue influence being placed upon the testator when making the will
    • Lack of proper execution – if the formalities have not been followed, such as not being correctly signed or witnessed
    • The testator had no knowledge or did not agree to or approve the terms of the will they signed
    • If the will is fraudulent or a signature has been forged

    Who can challenge a will?

    This largely depends on the circumstances of the case, but generally those who may be able to challenge a will include:

    • People named as beneficiaries
    • Dependants of the deceased not named in the will
    • People named in a previous version of the deceased’s will
    • People whom the deceased made a verbal or other written commitment to leave a bequest to, but who were not named in the will

    If you would like any advice on resolving wills, inheritance, trusts, and probate disputes, or understanding the grounds or who can contest a will, then do not hesitate to get in touch with our dedicated inheritance dispute team.

    Is there a time limit for contesting a will?

    This depends on the nature of the dispute. If you wish to make an Inheritance Act claim, you will generally need to do so within 6 months of probate being granted. However, if you want to challenge a will because of fraud, there is no time limit. That said, it is advisable to push on with the matter sooner rather than later as it may be difficult to recover funds that the executors have already distributed.

    Can I stop probate?

    If you wish to stop probate from being granted, you can do so by entering a “caveat” at a Probate Registry for a small fee. This prevents probate from being granted for six months unless the caveat is withdrawn or removed by the court. The caveat can be extended at any time and as many times as you like, meaning probate can effectively be postponed indefinitely, giving you time to resolve the dispute.

    Do I need to go to court to contest a will?

    Most times, disputes over wills, inheritance and probate can be resolved out of court using an Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) approach. This involves the various parties within the dispute meeting with a trained mediator who acts as a neutral third-party to aid discussion and encourage agreement.

    Using ADR typically allows contentious probate matters to be resolved faster and at lower cost compared to court proceedings. This non-confrontational approach also helps keep conflict to a minimum, which can be important where the dispute is between family members who want to preserve a positive relationship for the future.

    How long does it take to challenge a will?

    If the matter proceeds to court, it could take several years to resolve, although they are frequently settled out of court via mediation or ADR. If you want to contest a will, we can advise you about how to begin the process.

    The executors cannot agree on how to manage the estate. How do we move forward?

    If possible, the dispute should be kept out of court. Oftentimes, any issues can be resolved by discussion and correspondence between the parties, or through the appointment of an independent solicitor to administer the estate. We can advise you on the merits of making an application to court for the removal of the executors and administrators. However, this is not a straightforward process and specialist advice should always be sought.

    How can I protect my estate from claims and prevent any possible disputes?

    A professionally drafted will is the best way of protecting your estate. At Judkins Solicitors, we pride ourselves on our collaborative approach. Our will and estate planning specialists will work directly with you and liaise with our dispute resolution team to ensure all steps are taken to avoid a future challenge where one might be anticipated. Call us now on 01992 500456.




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