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Inheritance Claims & Contested Probate

Inheritance claims are brought under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975, often known as the Inheritance Act. Claims can be brought against a deceased person’s estate both where a valid Will has been made, or where no Will exists and the intestacy rules apply.

It is open to surviving wives, husbands, co-habitees, children, civil partners or anyone who has been maintained by the deceased to bring an inheritance claim under the 1975 Act.

It is important to be aware that the claim must be filed with the Court within 6 months of the issue of the Grant of Probate, or Letters of Administration, therefore it is important that potential claimants consult a solicitor as soon has possible to allow negotiations to take place before the expiry of the time limit in the hope that litigation can be avoided.

It is also worth remembering that Inheritance claims can lead to irreparable rifts within families and the cost of an inheritance claim needs to be measured in human terms as well as financial. We at Ursula Bagnall will do all we can to help conclude an amicable settlement in order to avoid increasing family differences.

We are also happy to advise in cases where a potential beneficiary wishes to challenge a will. This is a difficult area in which it will normally be necessary to prove that the testator/testatrix was subjected to ‘undue influence’ when he or she signed their will and this can be very difficult to prove.

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