If you want to control the gift, then it really is not a gift. It is a contribution to the property and you need to protect it in a declaration of trust. This may restrict the level of mortgage that can be obtained. However, it is best to be fully advised and really understand the outcomes.
Experts in contentious probate
Our skilled team can help guide your claim toward a resolution that better represents you and your loved one's wishes.
Who is the executor / administrator?
The executor or the administrator is a person who is responsible for distributing the deceased’s estate in accordance with the terms of the will or the rules of intestacy. They are also the people who apply for probate when this is required.
There can be up to four executors, and when drafting a will, it is possible to outline if only one has to carry out the appointed duties, or if multiple executors have to work together. When someone passes away intestate, an administrator is instead appointed to perform this role and administer the estate.
The executor or administrator is often a family member or close friend, but solicitors are also often instructed due to the complex nature of these cases. This responsibility of this role starts on the deceased’s date of death and the executor or administrator has personal liability for ensuring that the estate is administered correctly, to include paying the appropriate level of tax.
When should you consider contentious probate action?
A diverse array of circumstances may prompt your consideration of contentious probate proceedings. These encompass, but are not limited to, the following scenarios:
- You believe the will the deceased left behind is suspicious due to its content, timing or choice of executor (among other reasons)
- A percentage of the deceased’s estate was spent by someone other than the deceased prior to their death, reducing its value to you as a beneficiary
- You haven’t been included in a person’s will when you expected to be, or have been bequeathed less than you anticipated
- You were financially supported by the deceased prior to their death, but received nothing from their estate
- You’re an executor, but are in a dispute over the actions of other executors or beneficiaries (e.g. they are administering the estate inappropriately)
- You or another vulnerable person was manipulated into a Deed of Variation to forgo or reduce your inheritance, without your knowledge or understanding of how much you stood to inherit
This is simply a snapshot of the situations where a contentious probate claim may be made, but the scenarios are varied. You should always reach out to a specialist solicitor if you believe you have a legitimate claim.
Can a will be overturned after probate is granted?
Yes, it is possible for you to overturn it after the Grant of Probate has been approved.
However, it is highly recommended that you speak to a contentious probate solicitor as soon as possible in making this claim. The longer you wait, the less easy it is to prove lack of validity or fraud, and the more difficult it is to recover the assets to which you’re entitled.
How long do contentious probate disputes last?
There is no easy answer to this question, as the length of contentious probate proceedings depend on numerous factors, including the complexity and size of the deceased’s estate, the number of parties involved and whether the case extends to court.
Simple estates can see cases resolved in under three months, while more complex claims can extend to between six months and a year, if not longer. Your solicitors will advise as to how long they believe it will take to reach a resolution to ensure you’re informed at every stage.
The costs of contentious probate proceedings
The cost of contentious probate claims are difficult to estimate accurately, as a number of factors are relevant to include:
- The time it takes to complete proceedings
- Whether the case needs to go to court
- The size of the estate
- Whom you choose to represent you
In many contentious probate claims, the Court can issue an order that the costs are to be paid out of the estate. Alternatively, the opposing party may bear the costs if it is determined that they had mishandled administering the estate or if they did not conduct themselves properly in the litigation.
However, if the Court concludes that the contentious probate claim was not justified, it can order that the costs of litigation are met by the individuals who lodged them. That’s why it’s vital to speak to an experienced solicitor at an early stage who will give you an honest, fair assessment of your claim’s chances.
I think it is important to have that conversation; after all, if you love each other and want to set up home together and spend your life together, isn’t it important to know how each other would be looked after if disaster struck? Would you buy a property that you love without having a survey? Or insuring it? Best to know where you stand?
Ben specialises in the problems that cause us angst in our every day life. He relishes the idea of helping a client with the issues that literally could be a legal nuisance, such as a noisy neighbour, or one who has erected the fence over your boundary.
Awards & Recognitions
The expertise of our solicitors is regularly recognised by some of the profession’s most distinguished organisations. As well as being a member of a number of Law Society schemes, we have won awards at the Law Society Excellence Awards, the Halsbury Legal Awards and the Modern Law Awards.
We have also received recognition in the form of the Lexcel mark of quality, a Legal 500 listing and a place on the shortlist of The Lawyer’s Boutique Firm of the Year.
We are here to help
If you have a legal issue you are worrying about, it’s important to remember you are not alone.
Whether you're a new or existing client, we’d be delighted to hear from you. Fill out the form, phone or send us an email and let’s start the conversation today.
- Leading law firm with more than 30 years’ experience
- Trusted authority in client and commercial matters
- Proven track record of providing award-winning service