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Challenging / Contesting a Will

Grounds to contest a Will

Many people normally wish to know whether the solicitors they are instructing have experience
in the matter, we believe that this is a reasonable question, and we are confident about our
speciality wealth of experience.

Our experience Solicitors can assist you in challenging aWill with contesting Probate.

6- reasons why you should contact CITYWIDE Solicitors today:

  1. We are experts in the field of contested probate and challenging wills.
  2. We have nationwide coverage.
  3. We will provide a speedy response to your query so you know where you stand as soon as possible.
  4. If your case is accepted, our  Solicitors will take it up within a matter of days.
  5. CITYWIDE Solicitors  have proven track record and hight success rate in Will dispute and contested Probate matters.
  6. We have very competitive  fee rates

On what grounds can you contest a will?

We can represent you to challenge a Will on the following grounds:

There are a number of circumstances that could give rise to a Will dispute or Probate
contest claim. Where money, property or other items were promised in return for care and
support (or for something else), but this has not been carried out within the Will, or where
there is a real reason to doubt the genuineness of the Will, these are:

  • Where money, property or other items were promised to you and in reliance on that
    promise you changed your position (for instance gave up work or your own home) to
    your detriment.
  • Where you contest the legitimacy of the executor or where you believe that the
    executor is not serving the interests of the beneficiaries impartially
  • Lack of Testamentary Capacity – where the testator/Testatrix (the legal name of the)
    may potentially have lacked the mental capacity to write a Will. This is very common
    with testators who may have had dementia/Alzheimer’s Disease and/or who had
    been under the influence of painkillers or medication that impacted upon their
    ability to make fluid independent decisions.
  • Where there is reason to believe the Will terms do not reflect the wishes of the
    testator and/or because he/she might have been forced to make it in terms which
    don’t necessarily reflect his/her wishes.
  • Where there are reasons to believe the Will has been negligently or fraudulently
    written (for instance forged or perhaps signed and executed on a different date).
  • Where a Trustee (perhaps appointed by the Will) is acting in his own self-interest
    and in breach of the terms of the Trust and/or has failed to properly collate or call-in
    property belonging to the Trust, keep it safely and distribute it as per the Trust
    terms.

CAVEAT

You can stop Grant of probate from being obtained by entering Caveat. A Caveat is most
commonly used in probate where there is concern about the validity of the deceased
person’s Will. The Caveat will stop someone from obtaining a Grant of Probate and

administering the estate while those concerns are being investigated. Caveat is initially
for six months but can be extended.

The period of Caveat will then allow the person, such as you, who made the application
and the Beneficiaries to carry out full investigations, which can include obtaining
information from the solicitors who prepared the will and from the Executor(s) and
obtain medical records and evidence from witnesses. Thereafter, the person receives
and considers legal advice as to whether the Will is invalid. Therefore, you must take
active steps within the period of Caveat to decide whether you consider the Will valid.
The Court would find it unreasonable if you did nothing but continue to stop grant of
Probate and could even make a court order against you.

The is a £3 Probate Registry fee to enter a Caveat.

If the Executor, or anyone applies for a Grant of Probate the Probate Registry would
notify them that Caveat is in place. The person applying for a Grant may decide
immediately, or after a reasonable time period has expired, that the Caveat should no
longer reasonably be in place. If that happen, a formal document known as
a Warning can be issued to the person who obtained the Caveat by the person applying
for a Grant to try and remove it. Once given the Warning, the person who made the
Caveat has 14 days to enter an Appearance, in a form of a document, like a renewal of
the Caveat, which will keep the Caveat in place.

If an Appearance is entered, then the Caveat will be permanent and can only be
removed with the consent of the parties or by an order of the Court. If no appearance is
entered within the 14-day time limit, the person who issued the Warning will need to
prepare an ‘affidavit of service’ of the Warning to arrange for the Caveat to be removed
by the Probate Registry to allow the Grant application to proceed.

The Probate Registry does not charge any fee to issue a Warning or an Appearance. But
there are costs consequences for both parties if the Court considers that either party
has acted unreasonably. If an Appearance is entered and the Caveat needs to be

removed by Court order, and if either party has instructed a legal representative, then
there may be costs consequences relating to the legal fees incurred. Courts will not
tolerate caveats being entered or being left in place on false grounds; likewise, they will
penalise unreasonable warnings. See further advice on costs consequences below.

What are the next steps to dispute or challenge a will?

Where negotiations have broken down (or not even started because the other party refuses
to discuss the case with you), we advise you to seek professional legal advice. One of the
first acts is to ensure that you gather all the papers (as much as you can) which could
possibly be relevant. However, do not worry if you don’t believe you have enough, please
do still call us as one of the tasks we expect to perform is to investigate and obtain the
papers and information that you can’t (for instance, the Will, file made when the Will was
prepared, information about the making of the Will and medical, care and other records
concerning the deceased).
It is important for you to instruct us quickly to avoid the evidence becoming lost or
destroyed or the estate being dissipated in which case of course, it may be difficult to
recover any money or assets which have been spent.
If you are worried or afraid of going to Court, you shouldn’t worry. In most cases, claims are
settled amicably and resolved by agreement between the parties before court proceedings
have been filed. Also, your own evidence may not assist much anyway, unless for instance in
a Will dispute case you witnessed the Will being prepared and executed which in our
experience is highly unlikely. Moreover, the Courts directly encourage parties in a dispute of
this nature to try and resolve it before Court proceedings are even contemplated.

A Practice Direction

Pre-action Protocol – These court rules are directive, requiring a party, every case, to notify
the other party that they are considering taking legal action, set out clearly why they feel
aggrieved, inform the other party what they wish to receive from them and by what date.
Therefore, where for instance, there are key papers to be considered, the parties must
cooperate in obtaining them and release copies on request. This will include the Will and
even the Solicitors Will file (where it was prepared by a Solicitor) along with copies of any
earlier Wills. Moreover, there is an additional requirement that the parties must consider
and engage with each other in “Alternative Dispute Resolution” (in other words negotiation,
mediation, or early neutral evaluation). Penalties can be imposed on those who do not
engage in this way before Court proceedings are issued to include in extreme cases, penalty

costs orders. In other words, the person or party in breach could be ordered to pay your
costs as well as their own.

Do you believe that you have grounds to contest a will?

If you believe you might have grounds to the contest Will, do not hesitate to contact us for
and frank assessment of your case. Our expert and very experienced Solicitors would be
happy to assist you.

Remote meeting with your Solicitors

After your initial meeting, our Solicitors would usually be happy to arrange for any subsequent meetings to take place remotely, for your convenience and to ease any pressure from you.

Contact Our Legal Team

We are specialist in our areas of law and pride in ourselves for having one of the best teams of specialist Solicitors with wealth of knowledge and experience to deal with all types of matters. Our top-rated Solicitors have successfully helped thousands of clients with all types matters in our areas of specialisation.

We can represent you at all levels of the Court, from the Tribunal, County Court, High Court, Court of Appeal, to the Supreme Court as well before the European Court of Human Rights. Our Solicitors work in collaboration with very experienced and professional Barristers, who together present a formidable team.

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