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Disputes about a deceased person’s will or their estate administration

When a loved one has died it is difficult enough.  If you find yourself in a situation where you have a dispute about their Will or the administration of their estate, we can help.

We have the expertise and experience to assist you with any type of dispute involving someone’s Will or the way in which their estate is being dealt with after their death.

The rules on inheritance are complex and are slightly different depending on whethercontact Frisby & Small solicitors the deceased did or did not leave a valid Will.  If they did not then they are said to have died ‘intestate’.

Disputes often arise when people disagree as to who they feel is ‘entitled’ to inherit.  This can be more complex when someone may have had more than one family, for example through multiple marriages. 

Please note that if there is any form of dispute, claims often have to be made within a strict time period so it is important to contact us urgently and quickly so that we can advise what steps could be taken and when.

Our solicitors can assess the situation and set out who is to inherit, according to either the Will, or if there is no Will, the laws of intestacy. If there is a Will, then the first thing for the solicitor to consider is whether it is valid.

Claims can be made on the basis that the Will is invalid or under the Inheritance (Provision for Family & Dependants) Act 1975.  Please see our Inheritance Act page.

Please call us now on 0116 233 5522 or complete the
Online Enquiry form on the right of this page and we will be delighted to help you.

Invalid wills

For a Will to be valid, certain rules must be followed concerning how it was created. These include the basic details such as whether it is correctly signed, dated and witnessed, and more complicated matters concerning how it was drawn up and how the instructions were given.

If the Will is apparently valid, its terms can still be challenged and we can help with all areas of disputed estates, including:-

Lack of mental capacity

An increasing number of elderly people are suffering from forms of dementia such as Alzheimer’s disease. These diseases can affect a person’s mental capacity, meaning that they may not have been in the correct state of mind to make a Will at that time, or may not have been in a position to understand the implications of what they were doing, or to remember relevant information before making decisions.

If this can be established, then it may be possible to challenge the validity of the Will.

Placing undue influence on the will maker

If it can be shown that the person making the Will was, for example, overly pressurised to include or exclude a person from the Will, it may be possible to challenge the Will, either in respect of its overall validity or a particular gift.

Lack of knowledge and approval

It is possible to contest a Will that appears to be properly executed by a person of sound mind, if it can be shown that person making the Will did not know they were signing a Will and did not approve its contents.

Forged and fraudulent wills

If you have concerns that a will may have been forged or fraudulently prepared, you should seek advice. Our solicitors are experienced in reviewing Wills carefully and instructing handwriting experts to assess the validity of “home made” wills.

Rectification and construction claims

A Will may fail to carry out a person’s intentions because of a typing error or because the contact Frisby & Small solicitorsperson drafting the Will failed to understand the instructions. In this case, it may be possible to bring a claim that the Will be rectified to reflect the testators true intentions. This is often the first step to consider before bringing a claim for professional negligence.

Alternatively if the words of a Will are unclear or ambiguous, you can bring a construction claim by asking the Court to determine the meaning of the words used.

Not providing for financial dependants in a will

Someone making a Will can leave their assets to whoever they choose.  However, if they have not provided in the Will for someone who is financially dependent on them (such as a cohabitee, spouse or child), it may be possible for that person to make a claim against the estate, even if the will is valid.  Please see our page on making a claim under the Inheritance Act.

An estate not being administered properly

Anyone who is granted power to deal with settling an estate (called an ‘Executor’ if there is a Will and an Administrator if there is no Will ) has an obligation to carry out that task in an honest manner and, where relevant, either following the wishes set out in the Will, or according to the intestacy rules.

If someone is not administering an estate in the correct manner, or within a reasonable time period, then they can be challenged in law.

Please contact us for advice on any of the above issues or for anything else relating to Wills or the probate process.  Please also see our page on making a claim under the Inheritance Act.

Please call us now on 0116 233 5522 or complete the
Online Enquiry form on the right of this page and we will be delighted to help you.

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