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Contentious Probate Solicitors

Losing a beloved friend or relative is difficult enough, so when disputes arise over their final wishes, it is easy for tensions to spiral out of control. Our skilled contentious probate solicitors are here to help you resolve issues such as Will challenges and inheritance disputes as calmly and constructively as possible.

At Whiskers Solicitors, we provide expert Wills and probate dispute resolution advice to individuals across Harlow and Epping in Essex and Bishop’s Stortford in Hertfordshire.

With years of practical experience, we have seen first-hand how disputes over a deceased loved one’s estate can cause rifts within families. Without the assistance of a specialist, even the closest of families can end up resenting and distrusting each other. Our aim is to help you work through the issues as peacefully as possible, utilising our strong negotiation skills to find a solution which is beneficial to you.

To speak with one of our expert contentious probate solicitors, get in touch with:

How our contentious probate solicitors can help you

We understand how frustrating dealing with disputed Wills and inheritance issues can be. Perhaps you have been unexpectedly left out of a Will, you have not been left as much money as you need, or you are unhappy with the way an executor is handling the estate (or you are an executor facing challenge yourself).

Whatever your issue, we have a broad range of expertise bringing and defending all types of contentious probate claims. Our expertise includes:

  • Disputes over the validity of a Will or codicil
  • Disagreements about the interpretation of a Will
  • Disputes over the administration of an estate
  • Inheritance disputes and claims under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975

Challenging a Will

There are many reasons you may wish to contest a Will, including:

  • The Will document was not validly executed – a Will must fulfil formal legal requirements to be valid. For example, it must be signed by the testator or someone on behalf of the testator in their presence.
  • Your think your loved one lacked the capacity to make a Will – a person must be mentally capable of making a Will (called Testamentary Capacity) for it to be valid. If the testator had an illness such as dementia or a brain injury when the Will was made, it may be invalid.
  • You think your loved one was unduly influenced by someone else – undue influence occurs when someone uses pressure, coercion or fraud to cause the testator to make or change their Will. Very elderly and vulnerable people are particularly at risk of undue influence by someone close to them, such as a relative or carer.
  • Your loved one did not know of the Will’s contents or approve of it – even if a testator has Testamentary Capacity and goes through the proper formal process of making a Will, if they were not aware of and did not approve its contents, it will be invalid. This can happen where someone who is not a Will solicitor or the testator makes the Will on the testator’s behalf.
  • You suspect the Will is fraudulent or forged – if someone makes a Will whilst pretending to be someone else, it is fraud and the Will is invalid

Challenging a Will on grounds such as these can be tricky as you must provide strong evidence to back up your claims. We can talk you through your prospects of success and skilfully put together your case on your behalf to give you the best possible chances of achieving a positive outcome. 

Estate administration disputes

In many cases, there is no question over the Will’s validity, but issues may arise about how the estate is handled. Our expertise includes providing advice about:

  • Disagreements over the valuation of the assets
  • Disputes between executors
  • Disputes between executors and beneficiaries
  • Disputes involving administrators
  • Disputes involving trustees
  • Applications to remove executors
  • Applications to court for directions about how to administer an estate

Inheritance disputes

For many people, it feels morbid to talk about their testamentary intentions while they are alive. But sadly, this sometimes results in their relatives getting a surprise once the Will is reviewed. The courts have dealt with many extreme examples over the years, such as testators leaving their entire estate to charity while passing over their children entirely.

If you:

  • Have been left out of a Will
  • Were included in the Will but have not been left as much as you need

Or your loved one did not leave a Will at all and you cannot inherit under the Rules of Intestacy, we can provide advice about making a claim under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975.

If you are able to make a claim, you could receive reasonable financial provision from the deceased’s estate.

Why choose our contentious probate solicitors?

We are a firm of skilled solicitors based in Harlow and Epping, Essex and Bishop’s Stortford, Hertfordshire. Here are some of the reasons our clients choose us to help with their Will challenge or inheritance dispute:

  • Proactive service – we waste no time when it comes to contentious probate We will provide in-depth advice about your options and your prospects for achieving the outcome you want, then we will put your instructions into action swiftly and efficiently.
  • Sensitive, practical advice – we understand you may be feeling daunted by the idea of taking legal action. The majority of contentious probate matters involve close family members which can make the process particularly emotional and distressing. We will bear this in mind at all times, delivering our advice sensitively and using skilled negotiation to preserve family ties wherever possible. Notwithstanding this, our advice will always be practical and focused on achieving a positive outcome for you.
  • Professional accredited expertise – our Wills and probate team dedicate themselves to providing the highest quality of legal services at all times. Amongst our team, Gerry Smith is a member of STEP (the Society of Trust & Estate Practitioners) and Liz Middleton is a member of the Law Society’s Private Client Section.
  • Supportive, inclusive environment – we aim to make our legal services open and accessible to all, regardless of personal circumstances. So, if you have any disabilities or individual needs, please get in touch for a confidential discussion about how we can make your experience with us as comfortable as possible.

Get in touch with our contentious probate solicitors in Harlow, Epping and Bishop’s Stortford

To speak with one of our expert contentious probate solicitors, get in touch with: