If you’ve been left out of a Will, or have been unfairly treated in terms of your inheritance our estate solicitors may be able to help you make a claim against the estate.
Who can dispute a Will?
It varies from estate to estate, but some of the people who may be entitled to claim include people who had a relationship with the deceased such as:
- wife or husband
- defacto or same sex partner
- former spouse or defacto partner
- child, stepchild or grandchild
- parent of a child of the deceased
- parent, brother or sister
- someone who was financially dependent on the deceased
- carer of the deceased
- beneficiary in will
This is strictly a general guide so please contact one of our lawyers to discuss your particular circumstances.
Is there a time limit?
This can depend on who you are and your relationship to the deceased. The shortest time limit is six months and the longest can be twelve years. It’s also important to remember that while a period of administration normally lasts between six and twenty four months, according to the law the duty of an executor lasts for life. This means that if something that an executor did not know about arises after the estate has been settled, there may be further work for the executor. They are unable to ignore it, or can be personally liable for any consequences.
What if I don’t believe the Will was valid?
You can challenge a will if you believe that the will is a forgery or if the person lacked the mental capacity to make a Will. You can also challenge a Will if you believe that undue influence was brought to bear upon the deceased or if there was fraud involved.
How do I make a claim?
First, contact a solicitor, who can assess your claim and discuss the particular circumstances of your claim. If it’s worth continuing we will contact the executors and notify them of your claim. We will then gather evidence, prepare documents and make an offer to the executors. Many claims are settled through negotiation at this stage.
If the matter is’t resolved then we can lodge documents with the court to initiate proceedings. We can still negotiate and in some cases mediation will be required by the court.
Failing all else, we will proceed to a court hearing wherein the evidence will be presented and the judge will make a decision.
We can help
At every stage of contesting or challenging a Will it is important to have sound legal advice from experienced solicitors. We have the skills to negotiate on your behalf to avoid costly court fees, but if it comes down to court we also have the skills to fight on your behalf.
Speak to Daniel Mattess on 01323 407555 or contact us to arrange a consultation with an experienced estate planning solicitor across East Sussex in Eastbourne, Brighton, or Uckfield or at our London office in Notting Hill.