Derby Contentious probate solicitors

Contentious probate actions are principally concerned with the following:

•     validity of a will or codicil;
•     entitlement to a grant of probate or letters of administration;
•     disputes arising during the administration of the estate;
•     rectification or construction of the will;
•     claims against professional will draftsmen.
Common reasons for a will dispute include:
1. The will does not reflect the wishes of the deceased because it was drafted negligently or contrary to the instructions of the deceased.
2. The will was signed under undue influence, for example the deceased was pressured into signing the will.
3.The deceased lacked the necessary mental capacity to sign or give instructions for a will. eg the person was suffering from dementia or a similar mental illness when the will was made.
4. The will has been drafted and signed incorrectly, which is often a problem with homemade wills.
5. Even if a will is valid , you may be able to claim against the solicitor if they drafted the will negligently.
If the total value of the estate is over £100k and you are within 6 months of the date of grant of representation we might be able to help you contest the will.
We can act on a no win , no fee basis.This means that should your claim be unsuccessful , you will generally not be responsible for your solicitor’s costs.  And if your claim is successful , you can usually recover legal costs from your opponent.

Two long-established exceptions to the normal rule that costs follow the event  in respect of contentious probate actions are:

(1)     where a testator had been the cause of the litigation, costs should come out of the estate; and
(2)     where the circumstances led reasonably to an investigation of the matter, costs should be borne by both sides.

In Kostic v Chaplin, the testator had left his estate worth £8 million to the local Conservative Party Association at a time when he suffered from delusions, which were so far-reaching that a challenge to his testamentary capacity after his death was all but inevitable. The claimant successfully challenged the validity of the will on the ground of lack of testamentary capacity. Under the normal costs rule, the defendants would bear the costs of both parties. However, in the circumstances the Conservative Party Association was fully justified in investigating the issue of testamentary capacity once the challenge to the will was advanced on a formal basis so that their costs of the investigation were ordered to come out of the estate down to the stage where a realistic assessment of the merits of the claim could be made. Each party was ordered to bear its own costs during an intermediate period of the proceedings up to the date on which expert reports were exchanged. Thereafter costs followed the event.

Get in touch with Derby wills & probate lawyers by e-mailing gary.dickie@btinternet.com , or ring us on 01332 518135 .

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