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Contentious probate

The administration of an estate can be a very complex and lengthy process and disputes can often arise.  Whether you are an executor or beneficiary, Ashfords' Disputed Wills and Trusts Team provides specialist advice and assistance in relation to all estate administration disputes.

Ashfords' Disputed Wills and Trusts Team frequently deal with the following:

  • Applications for the removal of an executor;
  • Bringing and defending claims on behalf of an estate;
  • Citations to accept or refuse probate;
  • Subpoenas to produce testamentary documents;
  • Applications to issue and warn off caveats;
  • Applications to the court for directions regarding the administration of an estate.

If you would like advice on  an estate administration dispute or any other inheritance or trust dispute, please contact our Disputed Wills and Trusts Team on freephone 0800 0931336, or by email willdisputes@ashfords.co.uk for a free, no obligation chat to see how we can help you.

                                                                                                                                                                          

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Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is contentious probate?

    Contentious probate is any dispute relating to the administration of a deceased person's estate.  It could involve a dispute over the interpretation of a will, a dispute between executors or beneficiaries or a dispute over the value of estate assets.

  • What is a caveat?

    A caveat prevents the issue of a grant of probate or grant of administration. For more information, see Caveats, warnings and appearances.

  • Can an executor be removed?

    An executor (also known as a personal representative) can potentially be removed if there is good reason to do so as long as removing him/her will benefit the estate. For example if:

    • The executor is of "bad character" (e.g. he/she has been convicted of a crime);
    • The executor is incapable of performing their duties by virtue of a physical or mental disability;
    • The executor has carried out serious misconduct (for example stealing funds from the estate);
    • The executor is unsuitable for the position (for example there is a conflict of interest as the personal representative has a claim against the estate).

    Executors cannot retire once they have accepted their appointment except by court order.

  • How can I obtain a copy of a will?

    While a person is still alive, their will is strictly confidential and only they can give a copy to you. Once that person dies, their personal representatives stand in their shoes. It is then for the personal representative to decide whether to provide a copy to you.

    Once a grant of probate has been issued the will becomes a public document and anyone can obtain a copy from the Probate Registry.

  • How can I prevent a Grant of Probate from being issued?

    You can prevent either a grant of probate or grant of administration by lodging a caveat at the Probate Registry. For more information, see Caveats, warnings and appearances.

  • How can I find out when a Grant of Probate has been issued?

    You can find out when a Grant of Probate or Grant of Administration (also known as a Grant of Letters of Administration) has been obtained by lodging a "standing search" at the Probate Registry. The standing search stays in place for 6 months and can be renewed on expiry.

  • I think there is a more recent will to the one that is going to be admitted to probate. What can I do?

    If you think there is a more recent will to the one which will be admitted to probate, you should lodge a caveat with the Probate Registry as a matter of urgency to prevent the grant of probate being obtained for the earlier will.

  • What information regarding the estate am I entitled to as a beneficiary?

    As beneficiary you are entitled to certain information regarding the estate, including sufficient estate accounts. For more information, see What Rights does a Beneficiary have to Trust Information?.

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