UK contested probate solicitors deal with disputed testamentary cases, which may involve contesting a will in court, where either the validity of the document is called into question under probate law or there is a claim from someone who was not included as a beneficiary, or was inadequately provided for including relatives and dependents. If you would like advice on any of these matters, it is advisable to contact a specialist contested probate solicitor who will discuss your needs and give initial advice usually at no charge and without further obligation. Most solicitors in UK simply don’t have the experience of dealing with this type of litigious matter and you would be well advised to seek a referral to a specialist contested probate solicitor by contacting ACTAPS – The Association of Contentious Trust and Probate Specialists
For a will to be valid it must satisfy parameters laid down by probate law and if it fails to do so it can be held to be invalid. There are time limits relating to these issues and legal advice from a contested probate solicitor should be taken as soon as possible after the issue arises. A potential beneficiary can take action contesting a will if it does not satisfy any of the following requirements: –
it must be made by a person over the age of 18 years
it must be made willingly without undue influence from another person
the testator must be of sound mind and fully aware of the meaning of the document
it must be signed by the testator in the presence of two witnesses who must also sign
the witness should not also be a beneficiary, or they will lose their own inheritance
It does sometimes happen that an original will is lost and the executor may attempt to prove a copy of the will and obtain a grant of probate. These probate law applications to the High Court are sometimes challenged by beneficiaries of earlier wills who are not included in the subsequent will who attempt to prove that the will was not lost but was destroyed by the testator during their lifetime thereby invalidating the later will which would mean that the earlier will would be proved. Contesting a will is not a simple matter and inevitably detailed evidence supported by witnesses or documentation will be necessary to prove a contested claim. You should be represented by a specialist contested probate solicitor.
If a testator fails to make provision for a dependent then that person who may be a partner, a minor or a mentally disabled person is entitled to take action in the courts on the basis that the deceased had a responsibility to them which was not discharged.
For wills and powers of attorney a probate solicitor will generally provide you with a fixed fee quotation. For probate and contested probate a lawyer will agree a charging basis which may be based on an hourly rate for time taken in dealing with the matter, or based on a fixed percentage fee dependent on the value of the estate in question or legal fees may be based on an agreed combination of these two methods. Whatever is agreed as the basis of legal charges, you will usually find probate solicitors fees reasonable.