Contentious Wills & Probate Solicitors
Our contentious wills & probate solicitors can help you protect your wealth and assist you in providing financial security for your loved ones. We work tirelessly to help resolve disputes quickly to minimise the risk of court proceedings.
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Why Choose Ansham White Solicitors?
At Ansham White Solicitors, our team of probate lawyers and solicitors acknowledge that the death of a loved one is always a distressing and emotional time for those involved. Therefore, we closely work alongside our clients to ensure that the process as simply as possible.
Our legal experts are able to assist you with all Will and Probate related matters including, obtaining grants of probate, letters of administration, cases of Will disputes, Contested probate and Inheritance claims.
Our team of probate lawyers have over 20 years of extensive experience in dealing with complex estate matters.
Our Wills and Probate team have specialist knowledge in handling all aspects of estate administration and provide both a professional and personal service. We offer compassionate and sympathetic advice to ensure that the process from start to finish is dealt with in the most efficient manner possible. Our aim is to lift the burden of Probate from our client in a cost-effective manner.
Book your FREE 20 minute discussion with our Probate Solicitors on 0208 634 5850
Contesting a Will?
What reasons can you have to contest a will?
The main grounds for contesting a will are:
- Lack of testamentary capacity (the mental capacity needed to make a valid will)
- Lack of due execution (a failure to meet the necessary formalities, i.e. for the will to be in writing, signed, dated and witnessed correctly)
- Lack of knowledge and approval of the will (i.e. not knowing the meaning or content of the will)
- Undue influence or duress (pressure put on a person to make or change a will)
- Fraud or forgery (i.e. faking a signature or making unauthorised changes to a will)
- Rectification and construction (i.e. if a will is unclear or does not carry out a person’s true intentions and wishes)
Usually, you would enter a “caveat” with the Probate Registry, which prevents any other party from obtaining a grant of probate for 6 months, giving you the opportunity to determine whether you have reasonable grounds to challenge the will. The caveat can be extended by you or warned off by a potential applicant for a grant. To contest the will, you submit a claim form and supporting documents to the court. Mediation must be attempted before any such application to the court.
Call our team for advice on 0208 634 5850 for help contested wills.
Is contesting a will expensive?
The amount it will cost to contest a will depends on how quickly the dispute can be settled. For example, if following initial correspondence, it is accepted that the will is invalid, the likely legal costs will be in the region of £1,000 to £1,500 plus VAT. If initial correspondence does not settle the dispute, the parties then engage in mediation or some other form of without-prejudice communications. The cost of progressing to this stage is often in the region of £8,000 to £10,000 plus VAT.
What happens if mediation or without prejudice fails?
If mediation or without prejudice communications are not successful, the next step would be to issue court proceedings. The cost of the claim would likely rise to between £15,000 and £20,000 plus VAT. If the matter proceeds to a final hearing, costs can increase to amounts over £80,000.
Can I contest a will if I’m not in it?
Technically, anyone can challenge a will, but it is usually contested by people involved in the person’s life who may or may not have been expecting to receive a share of their estate.
Who pays for contesting or defending a will?
Whenever contesting a will, if your claim proceeds to trial, the standard order is that the winning party has their reasonable costs paid by the losing party.
You should first check any insurance you may have, which may cover legal expenses. For example, some bank cards and home insurance policies include such insurance. You can also speak to a solicitor to ask if they will act on your behalf using a conditional fee agreement (commonly known as a no-win no-fee agreement). While such agreements cover your own costs, they do not include the opponent’s costs in the event that you lose the claim. If you are unable to fund your claim through legal expenses insurance or a conditional fee agreement, a solicitor will usually request hourly payment.
One of the most important decisions when writing a will is deciding who to appoint as an executor. Therefore, it is important to choose someone