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Contentious Probate Solicitors in Kent
Challenging a Will is an extremely difficult decision to take, but it can sometimes be a financial necessity. When someone you have been dependent upon dies, if their Will does not make sufficient provision for you, then challenging the Will may be your only option.
When dealing with this kind of difficult and emotional decision, it is important to get the very best legal advice. You need to know whether you are likely to have grounds for a successful challenge, how such challenges work and the costs involved.
At Martin Tolhurst Solicitors, our contentious probate solicitors specialise in contesting Wills under a range of circumstances. We can guide and advise you on all of the options available to you and give you the best chance of securing the outcome you need.
Our team has considerable experience helping clients with a range of contentious probate issues, including challenging a Will, Inheritance Act claims and Executor disputes. Wherever possible, we will seek an amicable solution through negotiation and other alternatives to court proceedings, but where court action is needed, we can provide the strong representation you need.
Free initial advice and fixed fee consultation
We offer 15 minutes of free initial advice, which will give you the opportunity to explain your situation so we can discuss what steps you need to take and specific issues you need to consider.
Where required, you can then receive a 45-minute, no obligation consultation for a fixed price of £99. This will allow us to go over you case in more detail so that you can make an informed decision about how best to proceed.
We can then provide you with an estimate of legal costs that you may incur and, where appropriate, give a fixed fee for our services.
Find out more about our probate fees.
Speak to our contentious probate solicitors in Kent now
For further information call our New Enquiries team on 0800 0271452 to find out how we can help you.
How we can help you with contentious probate
Disputes over the validity of a Will
There are a number of potential reasons for disputing the validity of a Will. These can include where there is reason to believe that the Will was not properly prepared, the Will is fraudulent or that a more recent version of the Will exists and has not been used.
A Will may not have been prepared correctly in cases where the person making the Will lacked the mental capacity to make a valid Will, where the testator was pressured into making a Will or making certain adjustments, or where the Will was not properly witnessed.
If the Will being used is found to be invalid, then a previous Will made by the deceased can be used in its place. It may also be the case that the estate will be divided according to the rules of intestacy.
The time limits for disputing a Will depend on the nature of the claim being made, but it is usually better to make a challenge before probate has been granted. It should be noted that there is no time limit if you are disputing a Will on the grounds of fraud.
Inheritance Act claims
If a dependent of the deceased believes that the Will has not made ‘reasonable provision’ for them, they may be able to make a claim under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975. This is more commonly referred to as an ‘Inheritance Act Claim’.
The circumstances of your individual case will determine what is considered to be reasonable provision. Generally speaking, a lack of reasonable provision could be related to the sort of support the claimant was receiving from the deceased before they died or would have been expecting to receive if the deceased were still alive.
Due to the complications that can arise in Inheritance Act claims, you will usually need to bring a claim within 6 months of probate being granted. It is therefore essential that you seek specialist legal advice at the earliest opportunity.
It may be possible to have the Executor (or Estate Administrator if there was no Will) removed or replaced if there are concerns over the way in which probate is handled.
Examples of conduct which could lead to a dispute include instances where the Executor or Estate Administrator is believed to be spending money from the estate inappropriately, they are failing to move the probate process forward at a reasonable rate or they are unable to produce proper estate accounts upon request.
In cases where an Executor or Estate Administrator is being removed, court proceedings could be required in order for a professional Executor, such as a solicitor, to take their place.
However, many Executor disputes can be resolved outside of court through negotiation with the Executor or Estate Administrator, so taking appropriate legal advice as soon as possible is strongly advised.
Our contentious probate fees
We understand that, when resolving contentious probate, the costs involved will need to remain proportionate to the outcome you want to achieve.
We will always provide clear cost estimates from the outset which will then continue to be reviewed at every stage of your case. This way you will always be aware of how much dealing with each stage of your case is like to cost.
For you to get a better understanding of the costs involved in you care, we offer two services which will help to get the process underway.
Free initial phone consultation – a no-obligation call which will generally last around 15 minutes. This will give you the chance to go over the details of your case with a member of our team.
45-minutes initial advice for £99 – a more in depth advice session with a member of our team that will help you to draw up a plan for your next steps and make you aware of the legal costs that are likely to be involved in your case.
Where appropriate, we will be able to give you a fixed fee for our services. In other situations, we will be able to offer you competitive hourly rates based on the level of expertise required.
Why choose Martin Tolhurst for contentious probate?
We have received a 91% customer satisfaction rating
Our previous clients have rated our services very highly. In 2018, over 800 clients retuned surveys to us, with 91% confirming that they would use our services again or recommend us to a friend.
We are also proud to hold a 4.2 out of 5 for our Review Solicitors score.
We understand the importance of good communication
If you have any questions about the contentious probate process, we will strive to make sure they are answered promptly and fully. We will always keep you updated as your case progresses, so you can rest assured that your contentious probate matter is being dealt with effectively at all times.
Every member of our team is an expert in their field
We are committed to continuing our professional development to ensure we can consistently provide the highest quality of legal services to our clients.
Partner Barbara Stewart is a member of the Private Client Section of the Law Society, while solicitors Tracey Lillis and Tanya Beattie are studying for their STEP (the Society of Trusts and Estate Practitioners) diplomas.
We tailor our approach to suit your individual needs
We understand that every client and case is unique and, as such, tailoring our services to match individual requirements is one of our biggest priorities. Taking into account any goals or specific concerns have, our team will approach your case with the individual attention you deserve.
Contentious probate FAQs
How do I contest a Will?
Before you contest a Will, there are a few parameters that will need to be met. You’ll need to ensure that you can legally contest the Will, you have a valid reason for contesting the Will and you are able to gather evidence that will support your claim.
You can go over these parameters with one of our Will dispute solicitors in a free no-obligation phone call, which will give you a clearer idea about whether you are in a position to pursue a claim and what your next steps should be.
What are the grounds for contesting a Will?
There are two main grounds for challenging a Will.
- If there is reason to believe the Will does not reflect the wishes of the deceased
- If someone feels they have not been left sufficient inheritance to meet their needs
Reasons a Will may not reflect the wishes of the deceased include if they lacked mental capacity at the time of writing the Will, they were pressured into altering their Will or the Will is a forgery.
You may be able to make a claim under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975 if you believe the inheritance you have been left is not sufficient.
Dependants of the deceased to make a claim for ‘reasonable provision’ from the estate if the Will has failed to provide this
What is the time limit for contesting a Will?
Inheritance Act claims should normally be submitted within six months from Grant of Probate or Letters of Administration. You may be able to make a claim outside this time limit, but there is no guarantee that the relevant court will grant this.
Questioning the validity of a Will is much simpler to do before probate has been granted. There is no time limit if you are challenging a Will on the grounds that it is fraudulent.
Speak to our contentious probate solicitors in Kent today
Our contentious probate solicitors in Kent can provide you with tailored legal advice for any type of contentious probate matter and will support you at every opportunity to ensure your case is successful.
You can contact your local Martin Tolhurst office in Gravesend, Longfield, Ashford, Medway, Sittingbourne, or if you require any further information, call our New Enquiries team on 0800 0271452 to find out how we can help you.