Estate disputes (also referred to as inheritance disputes) can leave families torn apart.
As a law firm that has spent many years advising families in Bournemouth, Poole, Christchurch, and surrounding areas, we are committed to advising clients on estate disputes in a calm, sensible manner. Wherever possible, we use alternative dispute resolution methods, such as negotiation and mediation to reach an agreement between parties, thereby avoiding the cost and stress of attending court.
Grounds for challenging a will include:
● Lack of testamentary capacity on behalf of the testator when the will was drawn up● Undue influence on the testator● Improper execution of the will● Lack of proper knowledge and approval● Fraud● The will was revoked following marriage
If the will is valid, it may still be possible to challenge it, if there is a strong reason to believe that it does not make ‘reasonable financial provision’ for dependants (see below).
It should be noted that the process of challenging a will can be lengthy, costly, and protracted – sometimes to the extent that any benefit of a successful legal outcome is outweighed by legal costs. For this reason, it is advisable to speak to us early on to determine the best way to resolve your dispute, given your circumstances.
English law works on the belief that a person has the right to leave their estate to whomever they wish. However, if you have been left out of a will, you may have a right to claim. Under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975, a claim for “reasonable provision” can be made by the following:
● a spouse or civil partner of the deceased;● a former spouse or civil partner, if they have not remarried or entered into a new civil partnership;● a child (including adopted children) of the deceased;● a person who was being financially maintained by the deceased at the time of his or her death.
It is vital to talk to us as soon as possible if you believe you have a claim under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975. Our expert team will advise you on the merits of your claim, the associated risks, and give you honest advice on your chances of success.
All claims brought under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975 must be made within six months of the granting of probate or letters of administration. Challenges to the validity of a will must be made 12 months after the deceased’s death, unless the claim is based on fraud, in which case, there is no time limit.