People live longer and are wealthier than they have ever been. Family members have a heightened expectation that they will inherit some of that wealth upon the death of a relative. Sometimes those expectations are not met because of the terms of a Will or because there is no Will. These circumstances often lead to disappointment and arguments.
Contentious Probate claims may involve contesting the validity of a Will, for example, by contending that the person who made the Will lacked mental capacity at that time or that the Will was not signed in accordance with the strict legal formalities. Other claims may allege fraud or forgery or assert that the person was unduly influenced i.e. pressurised to sign the Will.
Our Contentious Probate department also deals with applications under the Inheritance (Provision for Family & Dependents) Act 1975. This Act entitles certain people – normally relatives or others who have been financially dependent upon the deceased person – to bring a claim that the deceased failed to make reasonable financial provision for him or her.
This can happen either when someone is cut out of a Will completely or does not receive as big a legacy as expected.
We represent clients who are considering challenging a Will and also advise executors or beneficiaries who are seeking to defend a claim.