It is increasingly common for disappointed beneficiaries to challenge a Will and ask questions, including whether a Will was valid. Whilst it might be right to ask those questions, this will inevitably add pressure to what is often an already stressful and emotional situation.
If you find yourself involved in a probate action as a beneficiary or executor, or you feel that you need to bring an action against an estate, it is important that you understand the ways in which a Will could be contested and what other types of claims a person may make in relation to the estate.
Disputes that arise when a person has died generally fall into three main categories:
- Challenges to a Will – these types of claims can arise in a range of circumstances when the individual(s) bringing such a claim are looking to challenge the validity of the Will in order to revert back to an earlier version or the rules which apply when there is no valid Will
- Reasonable provision claims – it is not uncommon for a family member or dependant of a person who has died to be disappointed by the contents of a Will or the rules which apply when a person has died without a Will. If they believe the amount left to them does not provide them with reasonable financial provision they may be able to make a claim for an award from the estate.
- Trustee or executor disputes – when making a Will or creating a Trust it is common for more than one executor or trustee to be appointed who have duties to act in the best interests of the estate or trust. It is important that a good relationship is maintained between the executors themselves but also between the executors or trustees and the beneficiaries. This can often breakdown if an executor or trustee is not acting in accordance with their duties or cannot agree on a decision. Berwins can offer support, whether in the form of general advice or mediation, to help find a resolution.
Trying to handle such emotive and often complex legal proceedings without expert help can be an incredibly difficult experience. That is why our expert team will work with you, acting sensitively and delivering the best possible outcome for you.
Our team will also look to explore how a claim can be funded and may not be as costly as you think. In addition, a ‘no win, no fee’ conditional fee agreement may be available subject to obtaining a specialist barrister opinion on the prospects of your claim.
If you are in need of expert advice on a probate issue, or would like to book a free, no obligation consultation, please call the Life team on 01423 543127.