DISPUTED WILL SOLICITORS - EXPERT LEGAL ADVICE
Our disputed wills solicitors operate throughout the United Kingdom and work on a no win no fee* basis. Unless and until we recover money for you there is no charge. Our claims are completely without risk which means that even if our disputed wills solicitors find it necessary to issue proceedings in a court of law and appear before a judge on your behalf, there is no possibility of you being involved in paying any legal charges unless and until you win your case and have compensation awarded in your favour. If the case is lost there’s no charge, it’s as simple as that. Our disputed wills solicitors are specialists and most deal exclusively in contested probate claims.
There are many potential reasons why a will may be disputed or contested. It can be as a result of improper execution, forgery and fraud, loss of the original will or failure to provide for dependants. Like so many other legal matters time is of the essence and our disputed wills solicitors need to be instructed at the first possible opportunity if they are to handle you potential claim efficiently. If you wish to dispute a will at an early stage and prevent the issue of a grant of probate before your claim is heard it is possible for a disputed wills solicitor to issue and file in the court a document known as a caveat which at the very least will buy time to allow any grievance to be properly investigated. If there is cause for concern them legal action can be started in court prior to the expiry of the temporary stay of execution facilitated by a caveat.
One of the most common reasons for a disputed will solicitor to intervene and take legal action relates to the validity of the original document which is of no consequence unless it has been executed in accordance with strict rules laid down by statute. To comply with the law a will must satisfy the following requirements :
- the testator must be over 18 years old at the time of execution
- there must be no undue influence from another individual
- the will must be made of the testators own free will
- there must be no evidence of mental instability including dementia
- the person must fully understand the consequences of their actions
- the document should be signed by two witness who are not beneficiaries
- beneficiary witnesses will lose their legacy but the rest of the will stands
- both witnesses must be present at the same time with the testator
- the witnesses must see the testator signing or acknowledging signature
If the will fails to provide for a dependant then legal action can be started to claim sufficient for the maintenance of any dependent who was being supported by the deceased shortly prior to death. A testator cannot just cut certain people out of the will without opening the door for a disputed wills solicitor to take action. Legal action is in effect a re-writing of the will by a judge if the beneficiaries and potential beneficiaries cannot come to an agreement for adjusted distribution prior to trial of the issues in a court of law.
Lost wills are very common sources of litigation involving disputed will solicitors. The initial question that must be asked is whether or not the will is lost or was it deliberately physically destroyed by the testator or by another person upon the testator’s instructions thereby revoking it in its entirety. If the will is merely lost then it is possible in certain circumstances to prove a copy of the will and obtain a grant of probate based on the lost will. Such actions are complicated and the issue of a grant of probate based on a copy will is far from a forgone conclusion. If however the will was accidentally destroyed (for example the dog ate it) or was lost in the post with evidence of that fact then a copy will usually suffice. These matters are of great importance as the range of beneficiaries may be substantially altered by the loss of a will where a court will not allow a copy to be proved as an earlier will, if there is one, may take precedence and if there is no earlier will then the intestacy rules may apply which distribute the assets according to a strict formula amongst the relatives and if there are no qualifying relatives the state may step in and claim everything.