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What is Contentious Probate?

Contentious or Contested Probate refers to any dispute about how a person's estate is administered after their death.

Losing a loved one is hard and problems with how their estate is handled can make it even more difficult. If you feel a loved one's estate is not being managed correctly, we can help you contest probate.

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We can also help you contest probate if there is no will and you want to challenge how the estate has been divided up. A person's legacy is a significantthing and it is important to know that it is being handled in a way that is fair to those inheriting and doesn't damage its value.

Estate can be very complicated, especially when there are multiple properties or international assets involved. Complex wealth structures incorporating trusts or rural estates can also present unique challenges.

Our team is experienced at dealing with disputes of all shapes and sizes. We have the expertise to help, whatever the nature of your dispute, whether you're making a contentious probate claim or defending one.

Call today on 0191 213 1010, fill in our contact form above or email enquiries@mckeagandco.com to get in touch with our team.

Interpretation of the Will

If a loved one has passed away and their Will contains errors or is unclear, we understand how this can cause tension and disputes between family members.

 

Wills are not always easy to understand, so it’s important to get specialist advice if you’re dealing with one that isn’t clear, or if you think a mistake has been made.

 

You should seek professional legal advice if you believe that:

  • The Will writer made a mistake – If the person who drafted the Will didn’t understand the deceased’s wishes, the Will won’t reflect how they wanted their estate to be distributed. In this case, you may be able to make a claim against the Will writer. 

  • There has been a clerical error – This includes spelling mistakes and errors in recording numbers. It also includes factual errors made in the Will.

 

Mistakes such as these can cause disputes between family members who believe that they have not been fairly provided for. There may also be disputes with executors over the true intention of the Will.

 

If the Will contains a mistake, speak to us about how to get it corrected. With evidence of the mistake and the deceased's intended meaning, we can apply to the court for changes. This process is called rectification.

 

You may also be involved in a dispute due to unclear wording in the Will. If you can't come to an agreement with other beneficiaries and the executor on the meaning, we can help you apply to the court to interpret the Will. This process is called construction.

 
Challenging an Executor of a Will

The executor is the person named in the Will as being responsible for dealing with the deceased’s estate.

 

Their responsibilities include:

  • Collecting the deceased’s assets

  • Paying any outstanding debts

  • Preparing accounts detailing the assets and liabilities in the estate

  • Distributing the estate according to the Will.

 

The executor has a duty to carry out these tasks. If you believe the executor is distributing assets incorrectly or failing in their other duties, you may be able to make a claim against them.

 

You can also apply to the court to have an executor removed from their role. Our specialist solicitors are often asked to take over with the administration of an estate in these cases.

 
Contesting Probate when there is No Will

If a loved one has died without leaving a valid Will, dealing with their estate can be daunting. We’re here to help you through the process and make sure you receive the provision you’re entitled to.

 

When a person dies without a Will this is known as intestacy. The ‘rules of intestacy’ set out who can inherit from an estate. However, these rules may not fully reflect the deceased’s wishes or personal relationships.

 

We could help you if you are facing problems such as:

  • Disputes over who should administer the estate

  • The unmarried partner of the deceased hasn’t been provided for

  • A child or dependant has not been reasonably provided for

  • An estranged spouse has inherited the estate or a part of it.

 

Contesting probate can feel difficult when there is no Will to back up a claim, especially if the estate is particularly large or complex. The rules of intestacy make no provision for unmarried partners and do not take into account any verbal promises the deceased might have made in their lifetime.

 

If you feel you’ve been left unfairly out of an inheritance, or you haven’t received the provision you need, we can help.