uk probate solicitors

Dependants Probate Claim Solicitor - Challenge Will

HELPLINE 0845 409 2425

It is often the case that a testators dependant is not adequately cared for under the terms of the will. In extreme cases this may mean total omission which may be an error on the part of the testator or may be deliberate policy. By law, a testator cannot effectively cut out a dependant from their will and must make adequate provision failing which a dependant so treated has a legal right to challenge the will in a court of law which will usually order adequate provision for a dependant from the estate of the deceased. Legal action in a court of law can be instigated under the provisions of the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975. Applications for support for dependants are the most common cause of contested probate litigation often by the parent or guardian of disabled or illegitimate children. There are a number of potential applicants apart from children which may include a spouse, an ex-spouse, a cohabitee of more than two years or any other person who depended upon the deceased for support.

Court Proceedure

It goes without saying that a dependant or the person responsible for the well-being of the dependant must act quickly and take legal advice as soon as possible after the death of the testator. It is possible to lodge a caveat at the Probate Registry which gives the interested party 8 days notice of the impending issue of the Grant of Representation being either a Grant of Probate where there is a will which appoints an executor or a Grant of Letters of Administration where either a will is silent on the appointment of an executor or where there is no valid will in force. If the dependant misses the opportunity to file a caveat or does not act quickly enough after receipt of the notice of impending issue it is possible to issue an emergency ex-party injunction in the High Court which effectively prevents disposal of the assets on a temporary basis until such time as the claim is heard in full. An ex-party injunction can be issued and effective on the same day that the application is heard in the absence of representatives for the estate however the matter will be remitted back to court on notice as soon as possible so that both sides may put their arguments forward to the Judge. The injunction is effective as soon as it is made and notification or service is given to the estates representative. Failure to abide by the terms of an injunction is a contempt of court and may result in imprisonment. An injunction should not be entered into lightly because legal costs can be substantial and the loser may be ordered to pay the costs of the winner.

Solicitors Legal Advice

A dependant with a potential claim should expect the other potential beneficiaries either under the terms of the will or as a result of the Intestacy Rules which determine precedence of relatives where there is no will to vigorously defend any claim that is made simply because dependants claims often extinguish the entire estate which may be awarded in full to the dependant. Qualified and urgent legal advice from a contested probate solicitor is essential in these cases.

HELPLINE 0845 409 2425