Probate is the process of sorting out property, money and assets of someone who has died. People will often have someone in their will named as the executor who has to organise this. Unfortunately, sometimes people can feel this process is not being handled, and this is when someone can claim for a potentially contentious probate.

Potential problems

Points of contention can vary. It may be that someone feels that the money or assets have not been fairly distributed or that they have not received the amount they feel that was promised in the will. Another issue can arise if someone feels that the will was not fair, for example, if they felt that the person writing the will was not of sound mind at the time.

Looking at the will

A will is valid is if it has been made in writing, was made by the individual question (and done so voluntarily) and without any form of outside interference, with two witnesses and the person making the will all signing the will to make it official. The latter can often be something people may feel if someone remarries or has a different partner, or if it feels that someone has pressured them into changing the details. This could also occur if someone needs a carer or someone that they need to assign power of attorney to, as some people may feel this gives the opportunity to exert influence.

Who can claim?

Under the 1975 Inheritance Act someone who feels they are entitled can make a claim up to six months after the grant of probate and letters of administration (the latter happens if someone did not leave a will.)

It is also important to know only certain people are able to make a claim, usually either a child, a partner or someone dependent on the family. You also need to prove you have grounds for a claim, such as the will not lining up what the deceased person wanted, didn’t know what they were doing, undue influence or there was a mistake made during the probate process (sometimes it can be as simple as someone not signing the form.)

A difficult process

The fact is that when someone has died, it is already a difficult and emotional process. This is made even more difficult when someone feels that they have been left out, and this process can bring out more emotional issues aside from the financial issues that come with a contentious probate claim.

This is something at Larcomes that we are sensitive to. Contrary to popular belief, legal representatives are not cold and unemotional. We want to guide you through a difficult process, hopefully giving you closure and giving you a positive result in the end.

If you would like to discuss a probate claim or want to know if you can make one, please contact us today. We will be happy to go over your situation in more detail and help you decide what you want to do.