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Contesting a Will. 

Losing a loved one is always a difficult. Things can be even worse if you think your loved one's Estate is not going to be divided how they wanted it to be.  
 
Our Probate Solicitors are specialists in their field, and can provide you with the expert advice and guidance to help resolve any disputes as efficiently and sympathetically as possible. 
 
Get it right first time, and contact MG Legal's local, friendly Wills and Probate solicitors. We are here to help. 

Get in touch and talk to a wills and probabe solicitor today. 

 
MG Legal's expert private client solicitors are experienced in dealing with all aspects of wills, trusts, lasting powers of administration, probate matters and estate administration.  

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MG Legal's leading Wills and Probate Solicitors in Preston offer all of our private client services on a clear, fixed-fee rate. 
 
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Get in touch today to speak to a Wills and Probate Solicitor. 

Contesting a will: 

In England and Wales, the law recognises that everyone’s Will should reflect their own personal wishes. Therefore, if after someone has died, you think that their Will wasn’t made properly, you may be able to contest it.  
 
The basis for you believing that you want to contest the Will could be that you have not been left any provisions in your loved one’s Will, and you may be left feeling like this is unfair. Perhaps they made you verbal promises about what you would be left when they died, and they haven’t lived up to that promise. Another reason that you may wish to contest your loved one’s Will could be that it favours someone else over you, unfairly. 
 
Our Wills and Probate Solicitors explain under what circumstances you can contest a Will, and what basis your claim would have under the law. 

What is contentious probate? 

Contentious probate is the term used to refer a dispute about the estate of someone who has passed away. Generally, the dispute will arise when someone has been left out of a Will or an Estate has been distributed incorrectly or not how the person who wants to contest the Will thought it would be. 
 
There are a number of reasons a claim can be brought. For example, a Will could be challenged if there were procedural errors when it was made, if the testator (the person who made the Will) did not have capacity when the document was written and signed, or if the Testator was under pressure or the influence from another person to make the Will in specific terms. 
 
One of the most commonly seen types of claims are those made under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975. These are often referred to as disappointed beneficiary claims. 

Who can bring a claim under the Inheritance Act? 

The people who can bring claims under the Inheritance (Provisions for Family and Dependants) Act 1975 are usually only relatives, with the exception of cohabitees, such as: 
 
- The spouse or civil partner of the deceased; 
 
- A former spouse or civil partner (with exceptions, such as if financial matters were concluded when the couple divorced with a Court Order, barring any future claims after the death of either party); 
 
- The deceased’s cohabitant, if they had lived with the deceased for two or more years prior to their death; 
 
- The child or children of the deceased (even if they are now an adult); 
 
- A person who was treated as though they were the deceased’s child; 
 
- Someone who was looked after or “maintained” by the deceased. 

Can I contest my parent's Will? 

The short answer to this question is yes. Under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975, certain family members may be able to claim for reasonable financial provision from their parent's or relatives Estate. If you feel that you should have been provided for by your parents out of their Estate, and should have been included in their Will, then this may be an option for you. 
Many people would presume that, when their parents die, they will receive most – if not all – of their Estate. A person’s Estate is usually made up of any property that they owned at the date of their death, their money in bank or savings accounts, stocks and investments that they held, less any liabilities, such as mortgages, loans, credit cards, and testamentary expenses. 
 
In some cases, a person may inherit less from their parents than what they had expected, or may not be listed in their Will at all. Other people will know exactly what they are going to receive, perhaps having been told by their parents during their lifetime or having dealt with their parent’s finances as their Attorney (you can read more about what an Attorney is on our Wills, Trusts and Probate Solicitors’ page, here). 

Who can claim for reasonable financial provision through contesting a Will? 

Generally speaking, anybody who was a close relative of the deceased person at one point in their life, or was a non-relative who was financially dependant on them in any way, can claim for reasonable financial provision to be paid out to them from the Estate. 
 
This includes, but is not limited to: 
 
Child or children of the deceased 
 
The spouse or civil partner of the deceased, regardless of whether or not they had separated at the time they passed away 
 
A former spouse of civil partner of the deceased, provided that they have not entered into a new marriage or civil partnership since the split 
 
Somebody who has been treated as a child of the deceased throughout their life, despite not being related, such as a long-term stepchild 
 
Somebody who was otherwise financially dependant on the deceased in any way 

How long will my claim take? 

The length of time that it takes to contest a Will can depend on a variety of factors; if the claim is finalised without needing to go to Court, it could take a couple of months, whereas if the claim has to proceed to Court to achieve successful resolution, it could take a lot longer. 
 
You should therefore try to start any claim against an Estate as soon as possible so that, a) you do not run out of time to make a claim (they must be started within 6 months, as explained above), and, b) as a claim can take such a long amount of time, the quicker you can start one, the quicker it could be resolved. 

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How do I apply for reasonable financial provision from a Will? 

If you have been promised a gift or amount of money in the Will of a lost loved one, and have now found out that they have not fulfilled this promise, leaving you less than expected, or nothing at all, in their Will, then you could wish to contest the Will and apply to claim for reasonable financial provision. 
 
Our Wills and Probate team here at MG Legal would always advise that, no matter what the circumstances are surrounding your loved one’s promises during their lifetime, you cannot necessarily rely on these when they have passed away. 
 
If you find yourself in this position, you must act within six months of the date at which the grant of probate takes place. Because of this, you should get in touch with a specialist Wills and Probate solicitor as soon as possible to begin the process. 
 
If you want to find out whether you are entitled to make a claim against your parent’s Estate, our team can discuss this with you. Give us a call at your local office, or contact us online here, to have an initial chat and find out where you legally stand. 
 
If you decide to go ahead with the process, and contest the Will, your designated Wills and Probate solicitor will get the ball rolling the same day, and begin working on your claim. They will take care of everything, allowing you to simply fill out the necessary paperwork that your Solicitor sends to you, get it back to us, and let us handle the rest. 

Why instruct MG Legal’s Probate solicitors to content a will? 

When you are making or defending a claim against an Estate, there are strict and complicated procedures which must be followed. If you are unfamiliar with these procedures, timescales and the Court process, it is essential that you seek legal assistance, such as that of a solicitor specialising in Probate matters, to help make or defend a claim. 
 
At MG Legal, our team of Probate solicitors understand that it’s important to try and resolve any Estate dispute as quickly as possible- this approach will prevent any unnecessary costs from being occurred, whilst ensuring that the agreement reached is acceptable to our client. Our team of Probate solicitors provide our clients with jargon-free, clear legal advice. To discuss your claim, contact our Wills and Probate solicitors here, or give us a call at the office of MG Legal that is nearest to you. MG Legal have a team of solicitors in Preston, Garstang, Longridge and Lancaster who specialise in all matters of Wills, Probate, and Estate Planning. Home visits are available upon request for our clients who are unable to attend any of our offices. 

How much will the legal fees cost to contest a will? 

Our team are transparent from the start of your matter about what it will cost you, and how these costs need to be paid. During the initial telephone call, our team will provide you with a quote for carrying out the legal work, as well as much information as possible about any additional third-party costs you may incur, such as Court fees. 
 
At MG Legal, we also make the guarantee that, unless your instructions change, our fees never will; if we agree to charge you a fixed-fee, that will be what you pay. Have a look at our fees page, and if you require any further information, then please do not hesitate to contact our wills and probate solicitors here. 

How long do I have to make a claim against a will? 

There is a strict time limit to make any claim against an Estate, which is six months from the date that the Grant of Representation was issued. This time limit can only be extended in exceptional circumstances. 
 
If you think that you should have benefitted from your loved one’s Estate, and you want to discuss making a claim, our team of Wills and Probate Solicitors recommend that you seek legal advice as soon as possible, as any delays could prevent you from bringing a claim. Contact us online here to speak to a solicitor within one working hour. 

Who can claim for reasonable financial provision through contesting a Will? 

Generally speaking, anybody who was a close relative of the deceased person at one point in their life, or was a non-relative who was financially dependant on them in any way, can claim for reasonable financial provision to be paid out to them from the Estate. 
 
This includes, but is not limited to: 
 
Child or children of the deceased 
 
The spouse or civil partner of the deceased, regardless of whether or not they had separated at the time they passed away 
 
A former spouse of civil partner of the deceased, provided that they have not entered into a new marriage or civil partnership since the split 
 
Somebody who has been treated as a child of the deceased throughout their life, despite not being related, such as a long-term stepchild 
 
Somebody who was otherwise financially dependant on the deceased in any way 

How long will my claim take? 

The length of time that it takes to contest a Will can depend on a variety of factors; if the claim is finalised without needing to go to Court, it could take a couple of months, whereas if the claim has to proceed to Court to achieve successful resolution, it could take a lot longer. 
 
You should therefore try to start any claim against an Estate as soon as possible so that, a) you do not run out of time to make a claim (they must be started within 6 months, as explained above), and, b) as a claim can take such a long amount of time, the quicker you can start one, the quicker it could be resolved. 

What can I make a claim for against a will? 

The Court will generally consider the size of the deceased’s Estate, and the nature of the assets that the deceased held. They will also take into account the financial means and needs of the person claiming, compared to the other beneficiaries who are inheriting or should be inheriting. 
 
If the Court considers that the person claiming should receive something from the Estate, they will be able to vary the distribution to make an award to the successful claimant. 
 
If the claimant is a spouse or civil partner, the award will be reasonable in all circumstances. If the claimant is someone else, the award will usually be reasonable financial provision that is required for the maintenance (i.e. to look after) the claimant, as long as the Estate is large enough to accommodate the award. 

How long do I have to contest a Will? 

If you are looking to contest a will, it is important that you reach out to a specialist solicitor for Wills as soon as possible in order to get the process started if you are eligible to do so. The time limit in place for contesting a will could depend on the type of claim that you are making against the will. 
 
Below, our specialist solicitors for Wills have ran through the time limits in place for different types of claims against a will: 
 
Claim made under the inheritance act- 6 months from the issue of Grant of Probate 
Fraud claim- No time limit in place 
 
To learn more about the different types of claims that can be made against a will, and how to contest a will, simply get in touch with our specialist solicitors for Wills, and speak to a solicitor within one working hour. 
Expert legal services across England and Wales: 
No matter where you are located across England and Wales, MG Legal's expert Wills and Probate solicitors are here to help you to achieve the best possible outcome in your legal matter. 
 
To speak to a solicitor today, contact us online here. Or give us a call on 01772 783314 
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