Michelle Hayter is a solicitor specialising in helping people to make a claim to dispute an inheritance and to take action when they feel that a will has not been made properly. Here, she answers some common questions.
Q: What is meant by an inheritance dispute?
A: Also known as contentious probate an inheritance dispute is when someone’s Will is challenged. This may be when a Will excludes someone expecting to benefit from it, when someone dies intestate, if there is evidence the Will was made under duress or the Will is not legally valid.
Q: How do I know if I can make a claim?
A: To contest a Will on the grounds that you were not properly financially provided for, you must have had a relationship with the deceased, that is, you may have been financially dependant on the deceased.
Q: How do I know if a Will is valid?
A: A Will must meet the requirements of section 9 of the Wills Act 1837. These are : It should be in writing and signed by the testator or another person signing on behalf of the testator, in their presence. It should show that the testator intended to give effect to his Will by his signature. The testator’s signature is acknowledged in the presence of two or more witnesses at the same time, and each witness acknowledges the testator’s signature in some way.
Q: What is the difference between an executor/administrator/personal representative?
A: An executor is the person appointed under a Will with authority to administer an estate. An administrator is the person charged with administering an estate when there is no Will, or where a Will has not appointed an executor. A personal representative is the term used to describe both executors and administrators.
Q: How long do I have to make a claim?
A: Under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975 The time limit is usually 6 months from the Grant of Probate. You should act quickly and seek legal advice if you think you have a claim.
Q: If I witnessed a Will, can I benefit from it?
A: No – a witness to a Will must be a person who does not stand to gain from the estate of deceased. Contesting a Will is a complex area of law. Our Disputed Wills Team can advise you if you feel you have a case.
For a free initial meeting please call 01202 499255 and Michelle will be happy to discuss any questions you may have.