When a loved one passes, they often leave assets and other valued items to friends, family members and charities. While there are many circumstances where an individual has made preparations for their division of assets, it can become a complex process, as they are not present to firmly assert their wishes.
When the deceased has already made preparations for their assets and their friends and family have no challenges for the arrangements, this will fall under the probate category of "uncontested probate."
This means that all parties involved are happy with the arrangements for the distribution of assets and have no challenges for these arrangements.
An uncontested Will is a Will that is processed normally and does not require any additional investigation as the document's legitimacy is not questioned.
Uncontested wills are processed straightforwardly by the courts and with minimal disruption. Legal advice is still required to ensure the execution of the Will goes as instructed.
When the legitimacy of a Will is questioned or some parties disagree with how the Will has been constructed, they can attempt to contest the Will. As the document being challenged was created by someone who is deceased, the court will then decide whether to use the Will or allow for the Will to be contested.
If the grounds for contesting a will does not fall under a specific category, it is unlikely that the court will proceed with the contesting of the Will that has already been constructed. Click here to see the acceptable grounds to contest a Will in 2021.
In the event that a Will was not put together or cannot be located, the family of the deceased would seek the assistance of a probate solicitor to assist with the distribution of assets. An elected administrator would put together a will on behalf of the deceased and then submit the document to the court for approval.
Intestacy rules will determine who will benefit from the estate and the court will then decide if the correct level of due diligence has been factored into the submitted document before it has been accepted for distribution.
As expected, the contesting of a Will does come with its barriers and challenges. This is an incredibly time-consuming process that can also be extremely costly. As mentioned above, particular grounds count for your contest request to be eligible. Furthermore, if this involves the complexities of Intestacy Law, probate matters when there is no valid Will can come with even greater risks. Mistakes can leave estate administrators liable for any loss resulting from a breach of their duties, so seeking specialist legal advice is advisable.
Below we list some of the different steps to consider before contesting a Will.
- Seeking the assistance of a legal professional.
It is always advised to seek the assistance of a legal expert before embarking on the process of contesting a Will.
As this is an already lengthy process, having a legal professional advise you on what initial steps to take first can eliminate any wasted time on tasks that are not relevant to the case. This can also be beneficial to collecting and preserving crucial evidence in the initial stages.
- Determining if the Will was made lawfully
How the Will was created will also play a huge role in determining how valid the claim to contest the Will is. If the deceased was not mentally fit or suffered an illness such as Alzheimer's or dementia, then when and how the Will was drawn up is crucial to the claim.
- Eligible Grounds
The grounds that a claim is made under are relatively specific, and failure to present reasonable grounds for contesting the Will can leave individuals with no case.
- Letter of claim
A "letter of claim`" has to be drawn up when making the case to contest a will. This letter details the reasons/ grounds for your claim and what outcome you desire. This document is then sent to the deceased's executor for them to review. This also presents the opportunity to agree on a settlement between the claimants and the opposition.
If a settlement cannot be agreed upon, providing that there are eligible grounds for the claim, the case will go to court.
Expert Probate Solicitors in Kent.
If you are seeking legal advice about any Probate matters, or you are considering contesting a Will, please get in contact with our Probate Solicitors today, call us on 01795 472291 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.