A person with a close connection to someone who has died and who expected to benefit in the Will but (for whatever reason) has not been included within it may still under certain circumstances be entitled to make a claim against the deceased’s estate. The same principle applies if there was no Will and under an Intestacy a person who reasonably expected to benefit under it was excluded from doing so. At Grant Saw you can be assured that your case will be handled with sensitivity. We are experienced in handling disputes that arise in these circumstances. Michael Clary (Partner in the firm’s litigation department) is a member of the Association of Contentious Trust and Probate Specialists (ACTAPS).
Why would someone need this service?
Following a death, disputes can unfortunately arise as a result of the terms of a Will (or intestacy where there is no Will). This can lead to a situation where certain individuals do not receive a benefit in circumstances when they would ordinarily have expected to have been left some entitlement.
We act on behalf of persons who wish to make a claim against the deceased’s estate in order to claim an entitlement. We are also frequently instructed to act on behalf of the deceased’s estate in defending such claims.
There are other circumstances in which you may dispute a will. See here for more information.
How does the process work?
There are only certain specific categories of individuals who are entitled to make a claim. Such categories include the following persons:-
- Husband, wife or civil partner, co-habitees.
- Former husband, wife or civil partner of the deceased if they have not re-married.
- A child of the family, including adopted children and step-children.
- A person who was supported financially by the deceased immediately prior to their death.
On receipt of instructions, we will consider the strengths and merits of the claim and discuss with you the likelihood of success in either pursuing a claim or defending it. Prior to issuing court proceedings the parties involved in the dispute are encouraged to consider the possibility of settlement.
If it is not possible to reach an amicable agreement then court proceedings may need to be issued.
How long does it take?
There are strict time limits within which a claim must be issued at court. A claim must be issued within 6 months of a Grant of Probate being obtained. If the claim is not issued within this time period, then a claim is prevented from being proceeded with under normal circumstances.
If the parties concerned in the dispute are agreeable to entering into negotiations to try and settle the claim without the need for issuing court proceedings, then it is possible that a negotiated settlement can be obtained within a matter of weeks.
If however court proceedings are issued, a normal time frame for the matter to reach trial would be within a period of between 12 months to 18 months. It is however usually the case that most claims do settle prior to trial with settlement terms being agreed between the parties.
Is it expensive?
When you first consult with us, we will provide you with an estimate of the potential costs. Under certain circumstances, we may be able to offer a Conditional Fee Agreement, otherwise known as a “no win, no fee” arrangement.
What should people consider before calling?
At the time of your calling it would be helpful if you had to hand a copy of the Will. Also it will assist if you were able to provide an approximation of the value of the deceased’s estate.