Dealing with the estate of a loved one when they pass away can be challenging, especially where there are disagreements over how the estate should be divided and other practical issues, such as who should be in charge of administering the estate. In these situations, having access to expert legal advice can make all the difference.
Our probate and estate administration team are highly experienced in contested probate (also known as ‘contentious probate’, 'will disputes' or 'probate disputes'). We can unpick the issues and conflicts involved and help you to find a way forward as quickly and cost-effectively as possible.
Wherever possible, we will strive to find a solution without the need for court action. Our lawyers are highly skilled negotiators and can usually help you reach an agreement that works for everyone involved. However, we also have extensive experience in dealing with probate disputes through the courts, so can ensure your best interests will be protected, no matter what route is required.
Our probate dispute solicitors offer an initial fixed-fee one-hour consultation so we can get a clear picture of your situation and outline your legal options and the likely costs involved. You can then make an informed decision about how you want to proceed with complete confidence.
Speak to one of our specialist contested probate solicitors in Essex today by calling 01245 228108 or use the contact form on the right hand side of the page for a swift response.
Common questions about contentious probate
What happens if the Executors of a Will disagree?
It is common for a Will to name more than one Executor. Where this happens, the named people will either need to decide amongst themselves who will act as the Executor, or they can choose to act together as joint Executors.
If the named Executors choose to administer the estate together, they will need to agree on how to go about this. Where there is disagreement, it is a good idea to take legal advice at the earliest opportunity to avoid the dispute escalating, which has the potential to make the probate process longer and more expensive, as well as potentially damaging important family relationships.
Using non-confrontational dispute resolution methods, such as mediation, it is often possible get to the heart of these disputes and find amicable ways to resolve them quickly and with minimal expense.
How can you get a copy of a Will?
Until probate is granted, only the Executor or Executors of a Will have the right to see it. However, once probate is granted the Will should be easily available to anyone who wishes to see a copy.
You can search online for a Will using the government’s Wills database as long as you have the deceased’s name and year of birth. You can then order a copy for a small fee.
If you want to see a copy of the Will before probate has been granted, the Executors may be willing to allow this, so it is usually a good idea to ask before considering further action.
Can you stop probate?
You can stop a grant of representation being granted and therefore prevent probate from moving forward by applying for a ‘caveat’ to be entered against the estate. This can be useful where there is a dispute over matters such as who should administer the estate, whether a Will exists or whether the most up-to-date version of the deceased’s Will is being used.
To submit a caveat you must be over 18 and will need to fill out a signed application form (or have your lawyer do this for you). There is a small fee for doing this and the caveat will last for 6 months.
Although a caveat can be invaluable, it is important to ensure that it is being used in the right context and it may be appropriate to seek legal advice before proceeding with one.
Is there a time limit for contesting probate?
Subject to the type of claim, you will normally need to bring a contentious probate claim within 12 years of the deceased’s death. However some claims may need to be brought within 6 months of the date of the grant of representation and therefore it is advisable to seek advice as soon as possible to ensure that a claim is brought in time and, as once the assets have been distributed, it is much harder to reclaim them.
What happens if the deceased did not leave a Will?
If the deceased did not leave a Will, their estate will normally be divided according to the standard rules of intestacy. This means their estate will go to their spouse or civil partner (if they have one) and any children, grandchildren or other close relatives, depending on the circumstances and value of the estate.
The person who wishes to administer the estate will need to apply for a grant of representation to do so and will normally need to be the deceased’s legal next of kin.
Why choose Gepp Solicitors contested probate solicitors in Chelmsford and Colchester?
At Gepp Solicitors, we offer a straightforward, practical approach to contentious probate disputes, making it as fast and simple as possible to resolve any points of conflict.
We have a large team of legal experts who can all contribute to your case as required, but you will also have a dedicated contact so you always know who to talk to if you have any questions or concerns. We will also make sure to keep you updated at all times, so you are never left wondering what is going on or what is likely to happen next.
Alongside our expert dispute resolution solicitors and probate lawyers, we have a number of in-house experts in areas such as tax and accounting, meaning that where additional expertise is required, we can quickly get the answers you need.
We are accredited by the Law Society for Family Mediation, reflecting our expertise in non-confrontational dispute resolution, and are also Lexcel accredited for the quality of our client services. This means you can be assured that we have the skills, knowledge and client-focused approach you need for a positive outcome.
Contact Gepp Solicitors contentious probate solicitors in Essex
Need advice and support about any issues related to contested probate in Chelmsford, Colchester or throughout Essex? Please use the contact details below to get in touch, or use the contact form at the top of the page to request a call back.