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Solicitors at Humphreys & Co. always aim to approach legal work in a financially-disciplined way. We offer competitive rates. Our charging approach is both transparent and geared to the options open to our clients. Our solicitors generally charge by reference to time spent but we can often agree fixed fees for specific work or in some cases risk-adjusted funding structures.

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Contesting a will: specialist contested inheritance claims solicitors

 

Challenging a will solicitors: will disputes: who can contest a will: contesting a will Bristol, London, UK-wide: specialist inheritance advice & representation

 

Specialist lawyers at this firm handle all kinds of contested will & probate claims, contesting wills for clients from London, Bristol, Birmingham, right across the UK & internationally.  

 

Contact one of our inheritance disputes lawyers, or supply details of your case through our online questionnaire. We can offer fixed-charge initial assessment packages, setting out options & recommendations, or sometimes risk-adjusted funding options, including non-means- tested "no-win-no-fee agreements.


Recent cases at Humphreys & Co. include:

 

  • Acting for claimants, executors and beneficiaries in claims under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975)
  • Securing a settlement for a nephew of the deceased aunt who had promised her house to him but had instead left it to her partner
  • On behalf of the main beneficiary defending claims made against a will as a result of a relative refusing to testify as to the validity of a will
  • Securing a declaration by consent of an earlier “shredded” will
  • Securing revocation of a grant of probate through an order by consent that a later will was invalid as it had not been properly executed and that an earlier will should be admitted to probate
  • Securing a financial settlement for a disappointed beneficiary through formal mediation based on concerns relating to a lack of testamentary capacity and the presence of a valid Inheritance Act claim
  • Obtaining a declaration for the members of the deceased’s wife’s family following contested court proceedings that the deceased’s estate should be administered according to the trusts of a previous “mutual” will made in the same terms as those of his late wife and not according to a later will giving his estate to the deceased’s family
  • Investigation of claims relating to lack of testamentary capacity
  • Investigation of claims relating to undue influence
  • Investigation of claims relating to a “missing” will
  • Proprietary estoppel claims
  • Claims based on constructive trusts
  • Claims against executors/administrators for breach of trust
  • Professional negligence claims against solicitors arising out of the preparation and execution of wills and the administration of estates

The last will and testament need not be the last word...

You have to cope with the death of a loved one but you do not necessarily have to accept an unfair will, or suffer because no will has been found.


A person can distribute their estate as they choose in their will. But sometimes provisions in the will can be disputed after death in a process known as challenging or contesting a will. If you are concerned as to your proper entitlement under a will, we may be able to pursue your claim.

 

Contesting a will: the available options

 
There are 3 main grounds upon which wills are commonly contested, as set out below. Bear in mind that strict time limits apply to contested wills, so it is prudent to act quickly. In order to preserve all available remedies, contact a specialist solicitor without delay.

 

Even if a will cannot be challenged using the grounds below, it may nevertheless be possible to change its terms with a deed of variation. It will be necessary to first obtain the agreement of all parties to be affected by the change.


1. Invalid: It does not comply with the applicable law

The court may set aside a will for formal invalidity if it was not properly signed or witnessed.

The court may also set aside a will if the Deceased's condition meant that they were not competent to make a will and/or they may not have understood or approved its terms. This is particularly so if the will was made shortly before death.


A will must reflect the free informed wishes of the Deceased. If someone bullied or tricked them into making a will (or changing their existing will) in terms that did not reflect their true wishes, the court may set it aside.


2. Ineffective: It does not reflect the Deceased's intentions

The court may be prepared to enforce, in whole or in part, prior agreements and promises made by the Deceased as to how they would leave their property.


The court will be prepared to correct an obvious mistake in some cases.

 

3. Inheritance Act: It does not provide for everyone it should

If a valid will (or the intestacy rules which apply where no will has been found) does not make reasonable financial provision for you, you may be able to make an Inheritance Act claim.

Such a claim can be made by, among others, former spouses and civil partners, some partners, children (including adult children) and dependants. Time limits apply.

We offer an initial analysis of your claim with options and recommendations for a fixed charge

Philip Siddons (partner)
siddons@humphreys.co.uk
Ben Kinnear (staff lawyer)
kinnear@humphreys.co.uk

Get a specialist assessment of your real inheritance rights


Some key bits of law on contested wills

"It is essential that a testator  shall understand the nature of the act and its effects; shall understand the extent of the property of which he is disposing; and shall be able to comprehend and appreciate the claims to which he ought to give effect, and; with a view to the latter object,  that no disorder of mind shall poison his affections, pervert his sense of right or pervert the exercise of his natural faculties;   that no insane delusions shall influence his mind in disposing of his property and bring about a disposal of it which if his mind had been sound, would not have been made."

Banks v Goodfellow [1870]

"If a will is duly executed and the testator has testamentary capacity……… the court will presume in the absence of other evidence that the testator knew and approved the contents of the will, unless the circumstances are such as to excite the suspicion of the court. If  such  circumstances exist, the burden lies on those seeking to prove the will to establish  affirmatively,  on  the balance of probabilities, that the testator knew

and approved the contents  of the will: Fuller v Strum [2002] 1 WLR 1097 at paras 32-34 (Peter Gibson LJ), 64-72 (Chadwick LJ), 77-78 (Longmore LJ). In these circumstances, the task of the court is to assess the evidence and reach its conclusion, on the balance of probabilities.

"Where a will has been duly executed by a deceased of testamentary capacity who knew that he was making a will and is shown to have known and approved of a specific part of the will, the court must consider how real is the possibility that the deceased did not know and approve of the remainder of the will and that requires a careful examination of all the circumstances including the directions and dispositions of the will."
 
"The question is whether the court is satisfied that the contents do truly represent the testator's testamentary intentions."

 
Fuller v Strum [2002]

What our clients say about us:


"Thank you for your response to my email. I am amazed by the speed wth which you were able to establish a legal basis on which to defend my father's Will. I now need to gain some control over the course of events."

"We were impressed by your speedy reply to my enquiry yesterday and even more by your phone call to me later in the afternoon."

"Thank you for the personal support you had given to us all when we had to attend court last week. You were a tremendous help at a stressful time."

"I do value the overall professionalism and personal manner in which the firm has looked after this case for me. Thank you for all of the support and guidance together with pragmatism, it has all helped."

"I would like to thank you both for your assistance in this matter and put on record my appreciation for the quality of your advice and the way in which it has been very clearly articulated, I would not hesistate in recommending your firm to anyone else."

"Fantastic news that Humphreys and Co won our case for us.  Please pass on my profuse gratitude to Philip Siddons for all of his efforts on this one.  And many thanks to you too for all your work."

"I would like to take this opportunity to personally thank yourself and your colleagues at Humphreys & Co. for all the work, help and kindness you have shown for J over what have been three difficult and traumatic years, and also Mr. C who represented at the mediation last November, for whom J has very high regards. Thanks to this help she is now returning to the woman I know and remember before these difficult past years". (Staffordshire)


Use our QUESTIONNAIRE to identify your inheritance rights

 



Humphreys & Co., solicitors Bristol

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Solicitors at Humphreys & Co. look to input not only careful legal work and precision but also the determination to keep matters moving. They aim to work in clients' real interests with energy and pragmatism.

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