Contentious Probate

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Contentious Probate

It is a fact of life that the death of someone close (whether family or otherwise) will evoke a huge number of emotions.  It is not simply a question of grief but also facing one’s own mortality.  This in turn can lead to one questioning one’s own values and unfortunately can give rise to one of the seven vices, namely greed.  What should be a straightforward process of dealing with a deceased’s estate can become challenged for various reasons and that challenge can be motivated by various psychological and emotional stresses.

If someone dies without leaving a Will then there is a statutory code for how to deal with the resulting intestacy.  However, even if a Will is found it can be open to challenge with arguments such as undue influence or whether the person who has died had the requisite mental capacity when the Will was made.  There may be reasons why the deceased chose to cut out somebody from the Will and that person can feel unvalued and a sense of right to be part of the estate.  Sometimes time can help the process but often the emotional battle becomes the means of delaying dealing with the underlying grief and sense of loss.

What should be a straightforward process of dealing with an Estate can become a wholly unedifying dispute.

At GSC we have experience of handling this sort of dispute both from the legal perspective and also from the emotional side including the following (which is by no means an exhaustive list):

  • Challenging the validity of a Will due to a lack of formality or the testamentary capacity of the Will maker.
  • Seeking awards under the Inheritance (Provisions for Family and Dependents) legislation.
  • Challenging the manner in which the personal representative is conducting the handling of the estate.
  • Disputes between beneficiaries as to their entitlement.
  • Claims made by or against the estate by third parties.
  • Donatio causa mortis where shortly before death a deceased gave a gift to someone and query whether the gift was complete.
  • Estate duty queries.
  • There can also be jurisdictional problems where the deceased had assets in various countries. There can be conflicts between the rights of the beneficiaries within each jurisdiction as there is no unified (i.e. worldwide) law relating to handling and distribution of a deceased’s estate.

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“Great result today. Just wanted to say thank you for your continued hard work in fighting our corner on this case. You have both been amazing. Michael incredible support and good ideas.”

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Have a question?

For every part of your life and business, talk to GSC

GSC Solicitors LLP
31-32 Ely Place, London EC1N 6TD
DX: 462 London/Chancery LN (View on map)

+44(0)20 7822 2222
[email protected]